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QE 22.L98aT"'^"''"'"'"-""''>' 

imMiMmlf.f.'i*' ^"^ journals of Sir Charl 

3 1924 012 129 544 

Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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The Geolotjical Works of Sir Charles Lyell are the best 
monument which he has left to the world as a record 
of his labours in Science, but something more may be 
desired to be known of tlie hfe of one who loved 
Nature's works with an intensity which was only 
equalled by his love of Truth. 

These volumes contain a sketch of the early days 
of Geological Science, and of the Geological Society of 
London, with glimpses of some of the bright characters 
who adorned it. 

An autobiographical account of his boyhood is given, 
and large extracts from the private journals and letters 
to his wife, his family and friends, as these record 
better than any panegyric the untiring energy and 
enthusiasm which never flagged during a long life, 
rendering it a useful and a very happy one. 

His cultivated mind and classical taste, his keen 
interest in the world of politics and in the social pro- 
gress and education of his country, and the many 
opportunities he enjoyed of friendly intercourse with 
the most leading characters of his age, make the letters 


abound in lively anecdotes and pictures of society, con- 
stantly intersj)ersed with his enthusiastic devotion to 
Natural History. 

The geological information is given, as he gathered 
it in, from his personal observations at the time, though 
he afterwards may have arrived at different conclusions 
as he advanced in the study of the subject. 

Many thanks are due to all who have kindly lent 
me their letters, and have thus contributed to the com- 
pletion of these memoirs. 





NOVEMBER 1797 — 1812-14. 


Birth at Kinnordy — Bartley Lodge — School at Eingwood — Adventures — 
School-life at Salisbury — Old Sarum — More School Adventures — 
Entomology — Dr. Fowler — 111, and sent Home — Love of Insects — 
Dr. Bayley's School at Midhurst — Reflections on School-life — 
Classicus Paper — Taste for Poetry — Latin "Verses — Petty Gambling 
— Chess — Music — The enraged Musician— Cowdry Park and Birds- 
nesting .... .... .1 



Letters from Oxford — Fellow Students — Gifford — Kirke White — ' Chris- 
tabel ' — Examination — Lord Exmouth — Ammonites Bucklandi — Visit 
to Mr. Dawson Turner at Yarmouth — Dr. Arnold— Geology — Journey 
to Scotland — Trip to Staffa — lona — Betum to Oxford — Lines on 
Staffa ........ . .32 


JUNE, JULY 1818. 

Tour on the Continent — Paris — Jardin des Plantes — Versailles— Mal- 
maison — Theatre Fran^ais — Corneille's Play — Practical Efficiency of 
the Bibliothfequedu Eoi — Visit to P^re la Chaise— The Louvre — Journey 
continued to the Jura Mountains— Grand View over Switzerland — 
Chamouni — Glacier de Bossons — Mer de Glace — Couvercle, and le 
Jardin — Flowers and Insects — Return to Geneva— Basle — Holbein- 
Falls of SchafEhausen — Lucerne — Ascent of the Eighi . . .57 





Meyringen— The Giesbach— Glacier of the Ehone— View from the Grimsel 
—Theory of Pink Snow explained— Grindelwald Glacier— La belle 
BatteliSre— Avalanche from the Eiger— Berne and Dr. Wittenbach— 
The Vallais— Desolation from the bursting of the Drance— Val de 
Bagne— The Bridge of Lourtier— Convent of St. Bernard— Ancient 
Temple of Jupiter— Brieg— The Simplon— Lago Maggiore— Milan— 
Verona— Venice— Bologna— Florence . ■ . -84 


SEPTEMBEE 1820 — JULY 182.3. 

Letter from Rome— Lnpressions of the Forum— Political Discontent at 
Naples— Geological Anniversary Dinner— Geologising in Surrey— Visit 
to Romney Marsh— Geology of the Isle of Wight— Geological Club 
Dinner— Paris— Soiree at Cuvier's— Alexander von Humboldt— La 
Place — Axago — Politics — Aliments for ever 112 


JULY 1823 — OCTOBER 1824. 

Alexander Brongniart — Manufacture of Sevres — M. Pichon — Tertiary 
Formations at Meudon — M. Constant Prevost — Marshal Soult's Gallery 
— Political Discussion at Cuvier's — Excursion to Fontainebleau with 
M. Constant Pr6vost — Division of Property — Baron de Fferussac — His 
Cosmogony — Political Changes in France — Versailles — Geological Ex- 
cursion to the Marne — Centralisation of Paris — Return to England — 
Rev. W. D. Conybeare — Plesiosaurus from Lyme Regis — Constant 
Pr6vost's Visit to England — Kinnordy — Accompanies Dr. Buckland to 
Ross-shire . ... 132 


JULY 1825 DECEMBER 1827. 

Clathrarium Lyelli — Entomology— Lockhart becomes Editor of the 
' Quarterly Revievf ' — Breakfast at Lockhart's with Sir Walter Scott — 
Visit to Cambridge — Pleasure in reading Lamarck — Planning his 
future Work — On Intolerance in Science 160 



Arrival of Ava Fossils — Botanical Chair, London University — Dr. Flem- 
ing's History of British Animals — Party at Sir George Phillips' — Tour 


abroad with Murchison — Paris — Journey to Auvergue — Secondary and 
Freshwater Formations of France — Volcanic Phenomena near Cler- 
mont — Count de Montlosier — Beautiful Scenery about Mont Dor — 
Cantal Fossils — Entomology — Nice — Murchison Overtaxing his 
Strength — Paper on Excavation of Valleys — Determines to go to Naples 
and Sicily — Letter to Herschel — Parts from the Murchisons at Padua 
— Giotto's Paintings 175 


OCTOBER 1828 — JANUARY 1829. 

Parma — Professor Guidotti— Fine Collection of PossU Shells — Adventure 
at the Douane at Parma — Geology of the Valley of the Elsa Eiver near 
Siena — Ancient Volcanos near Viterbo — Geology of Eome — Naples- 
Embarks for Ischia — Psestum — Temple of Neptune — Catania — Ascent 
of Etna — The Casa Inglese — The Gemmellaros — Hardships and 
Adventures — Syracuse — Agrigentum • — A Festa — Palermo — Banditti 
— Difficulty of leaving Sicily — Eeturn to Naples 205 



Eome — News from home on Geological speculations — Dr. Wollaston's 
Death — Tivoli — Grand section of Travertin — Geologists at Genoa — 
Journey to Geneva — De CandoUe — Necker — Paris — Lecture of Pre- 
vost's — Cuvier — Arrangement of his Library— Eeturn to London — 
Lively Meeting at the Geological Society — Fossils in pavement-stone 
in Forfarshire — Sedgwick and Murchison geologising abroad — Letter 
from Constant Provost — Project of going to Iceland . . . 236 



Dr. Fleming's remarks on Conybeare — Determination not to enter into 
controversy— Opening of the Atheneeum Club — Milman's ' History of 
the Jews ' — Proposed trip to the Crimea— Letters to Poulett Scrope on 
the ' Principles ' — Leaves England with Captain Cooke for the Py- 
renees — Excursion into Catalonia 259 



Volcanos of Olot — Earthquakes — Count d'Espagne— Cork-trees on the 
French side of the Pyrenees— Pine-trees — Political state of the coun- 
try—Expedition to Mont Perdu — Letter to Scrope on Geology — 
Eipple-mark — Paris — Louis Philippe — Political agitation in Belgium 
VOL. I. a 


and France — Srndying shells with Deshayes — Disturbance by the 
mob — Returns to London — ^crope's review in ' Quarterly ' — Removes 
to Raymond Buildings ... . -83 



Appointed Professor of Geology at King's College — "Visit to Cambridge — 
Journal to Miss Homer — Jlrs. Somerville's ' Mechanism of the 
Heavens ' — Party spirit on the Reform Bill — On Education of Boys — 
JIadame de Stael and her Writings — Sir William Napier — Goes to 
Scotland — Edinburgh — Lord Cockbum — Dr. GrevUle — ^innordy . 31.5 



Xew Volcanic Island in the Mediterranean — Life at Kinnordy with his 
family — Election excitement — Murray of Simprim — Returns to Lon- 
don — Dinner at the Linnaean Club — Gumming, the sail-maker — 
Geological .Society Meeting — Duke of Sussex at the Royal Society — 
Visit to Jermyns — Thinks of giving up his Professorship at King's 
College . . 339 



Conversation with Babbage — Mrs. Lockhart — Visit to Dr. Fitton at 
Hendon — Dinner at Mr. Mallet's at Hampstead — Entomology — Anni- 
versary Dinner of the Geological Society — Party at Murchison's — 
Sedgwick declines a Living — Captain Basil Hall— Zoological farm at 
Kingston Hill — Butterflies — On Religious Toleration — Lectures at 
King's College — Preform Bill . 361 


Jr^"E 1832 APRIL IS 34. 

His Marriage — Tour to Switzerland and the Italian Lakes — Return to 
London — Lectures at the Royal Institution — Heidelberg — Von Leon- 
hard's Lecture — Dr. Schmerliiigs work in the Caves near Lifege — Dr. 
Bowstead — Sydney Smith — The Drummond Light .... 387 


MAY JtrNE 1834. 

Departs for Sweden — Lubeck — Picks up Shells on the Baltic — Arrives at 
Copenhagen — Expedition to Mcen with Dr. Forchhammer — The Crown 



Prince Christian — Visit to the Country Palace of Sorgen-frey — Geo- 
logy — Departs for Sweden — Engages an Interpreter — Legend of the 
Backe-hasten — Castle of Kalmar . 407 



Stockholm — Berzelius — Eeview of the Fleet by Prince Oscar — Upsala — 
Herr Adjuncter Marklin — Linnaeus' Garden — Liber Argenteus — Mea- 
sures the Sea-level — Returns to Stockholm — Gotheborg — Sails to Hull 
— Edinburgh Scientific Meeting — Agassiz . . . 425 



Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise — Crag shells of Suffolk — Paris— Von 
Buch — Berzelius — Geology of Switzerland — Meeting of Naturalists at 
Bonn — Agassiz' Catastrophe System — His Love of Natural History — 
Deshayes' zeal for Conchology . . . ... 444 



On money for Museums being frittered away in Buildings — Letter to Sir 
John Herschel on the Origination of New Species — Kinnordy — Dr. 
Fleming appointed Professor in Aberdeen — Dr. Fitton declines Presi- 
dentship of the Geological Society — Letter to Darwin against his 
undertaking official work . . , . .462 


Portrait of Sir Charles Lyell, after a Crayon Drawing by George 

Richmond, R.A Frontispiece. 

Kinnordy, Forfarshire, the Birthplace of Sir Charles Lyell To face p. 1. 





NOVEMBER 1797 — 1812-14. 


[Chai'les Lyell was born November 14, 1797, at Kinnordy, the 
family estate in Forfarshire. He was the eldest of ten children, 
having two brothers and seven sisters, who all grew up. His father 
was a man of cultivation and refinement, and had both literary and 
scientific tastes. In early life he devoted himself to Botany, espe- 
cially to the cryptogams, and latterly took up the study of Dante, 
and published several works on, and translations from, the great poet. 
His mother, the daughter of Thomas Smith, of Maker Hall, Swaledale, 
Yorkshire, was gifted with strong sense, and a tender anxiety for the 
welfare of her children. 

In 1832 he married the eldest daughter of Mr. Leonard Horner, 
r.Il.S.,andin his letters to her, when she was living abroad at Bonn 
on the Rhine, he wrote at her request the following autobiography, 
which only extends to near the end of his school-days.J 
VOL. I. B 



I WAS bom November li, 1797, at Kinnordy.' 'The front 
of beaven was not full of fieiy sbapes, at mj nativity,' but it 
was a remarkable winter and spring, so warm that my mother 
slept all night with her bedroom windows open — which no 
doubt portended something remarkable in the bairn ; and sure 
enough he was pronounced to be the loudest and most in- 
defatigable squaller of all the brats in Angus, and while he 
kept others awake all night by his noise, thrived the while 
most vigorously. Besides this, it was more than twelve 
months before I cut a single tooth, and some old woman in 
Southampton, finding that my gums were very hard, and 
that I could eat well, very consideratelj- tried to persuade my 
mother that her first-born would wever have any teeth ! 

But I have travelled to Hants too fast. At the age of 
three months, I was taken on a tour to Inverary, afterwards 
to Ilfracombe in Devon, then to Weymouth, and finally to 
Southampton, where Tom^ was born. My father then took 
a fourteen years' lease of Bartley Lodge in the New Forest, 
Hants, and stayed there twenty-eight years. The first thing 
of which I have a very distinct remembrance is learning the 
alphabet. I was about three, I believe, at that time, and was 
four and a half when an event happened which was not 
likely to be forgotten. My father and mother were on their 
way to Kinnordy to spend a summer there, and were within 
a stage and a half of Edinburgh, with Tom and me in their 
carriage, and behind came a post-chaise with two nursemaids 
and the cook, with Fanny and Marianne' (then the babv). 
On a narrow road, with a steep brae above, and an equally 
precipitous one below, and no parapet by the roadside, a 
flock of sheep jumped down into the road, and frightened the 
horses. Away they ran, and with the chaise, man, horses 
and all, disappeared clean out of sight, over the brae in an 
instant. No one was hurt but one of the maids, whose arm 
was cut by the glass being broken. My father broke the upper 
pane of glass, and pulled Fanny and Marianne through the 
opening. All were afterwards got out, and while they sat by 

' See vignette, on title-page. 
= His next brother. 3 gj^ sisters. 


the roadside, one maid fainting, and tlie other with my mother 
washing the blood from her arm, a chaise with two ladies 
and a gentleman came past, who stared on them, and went 
on without offering any assistance. A shepherd was more 
obliging. Meanwhile Tom and I were left in the carriage. 
We thought it fine pastime, and I am a,ccused of having 
prompted Tom to assist in plundering the pockets of the 
carriage of all the buns and other eatables, which we demo- 
lished with great speed for fear of interruption. The next 
e/ent I remember was a daft woman, who came and haunted 
Xirriemuir,'' and often and often visited Kinnordy, swearing 
that she would not leave the country till she had one of ' the 
laird's bairns.' She attacked the nursery-maids one day 
most furiously, when they were out with us, who, frightened 
at her frantic questions, ran away. After several of these 
visits, which made a great impression on my imagination, 
they caught the poor creature, and locked her up in the stable, 
after which she never returned. I really cannot recall any- 
thing worth mentioning for nearly three years after. We 
lived at Bartley, and walked out among that beautiful wild 
forest scenery with the nurses, &c. My Grandmamma Lyell 
came from Scotland with her two daughters, and settled in 
Southampton, and their frequent visits to Bartley were 
agreeable incidents to the children, always with presents of 
toys, sweetmeats, &c. I was kept back nearly a year from 
going to school, in order to wait till Tom could go with me. 
Then, when I was seven and three-quarter years old, I was 
sent to Ringwood, to a Eev. R. S. Davies, about fifty boys 
there I suppose. What an event is this in a boy's life ! It 
is completely a new world, and a rough one enough, if they 
have been humoured and petted. 

It is a great amusement to me to recall scenes that seem 
so distant, and yet which are so vividly impressed upon my 
mind. Tom and I, and about three others, were the youngest 
in the school. One of these was a little fellow of the name of 
Montague, who must have been a complete ' Billy Bottom,' 
ready to undertake everything, and who undertook to direct 
us, teach us games, &c., and to whom we appealed for 
explanations. I went in the middle of a half year, and 

' The neighbouring town in Forfarshire, 
u 2 


stayed, therefore, about ten -sveeks before the holidays. A 
few weeks after my arrival, a quarrel happened between the 
boys of the town, and ours. The former were familiarly 
called ' the blackguards,' and they termed us ' the Latin 
cats.' A challenge was carried, I know not from which party, 
to fight, accepted, day fijced, weapons (sticks) agreed upon, 
their size, and everything else. It was decided upon by 
a council of war that we five little ones were too small for 
soldiers, so we were to be left, but sworn to secrecy. Each 
one was called up, and told that if he blabbed, even,- bone of 
him should be broken. When the evening: came, every one 
of the whole school marched and met the foe. They must 
have had a regular ' shindy,' as the Irishmen call it. for 
although the news of it spread in time for Davies and some 
of the tradesmen to rush in and separate them, a great 
number of heads were broken. All holidays were taken 
away for ten days, and extra tasks imposed, and a sermon 
read to them on their atrocious guilt. At that time 
smuggling was very active on the coast, and ' smugijlers ' 
was our favourite game. One party were the custom-house 
officers, the other were the contrabandists, with the kess, 
&c. The first time I went out, not knowing what was to 
happen, I was so frightened by the surprise and' hallooing, 
and row of the sham fight, when we were set upon from 
behind a hedge in a dark lane, that I verily trembled for 
my life. 

At that time the expectation of a French invasion was 
general, and ' the volunteers ' were incorporated. My father 
accepted a captaincy, and his corps were ordered to Eing- 
wood, a pleasant event for us. Before my first return for 
the holidays, the rejoicings for the victory of Ti-afalgar were 
celebrated. There were bonfires on the summit of every 
hill round Eingwood, which had a grand effect at ni^ht : 
an illumination in the town, where almost every candle was 
blackened on the outside, in mourning for Xelson. The 
band of the volunteers played ■ Eule Britannia ' and ' Battle 
of the Xile,' while the people sang standing round a great 
bonfire in the market-place. The volunteers had a spite 
against the Mayor of Eingwood, because he would neither 
subscribe to their funds, nor let them exercise in a field of 

i8o4. ADVENTURES. 5 

his, so they threw squibs into his windows, and set fire to 
the drawing-room curtains, which were extinguished with 
difficulty. I remember participating perfectly in the mixed 
feeling of sorrow for the death of Nelson and triumph for 
the great victory. The Government, by way of making the 
volunteers on the alert, gave a sham alarm at Portsmouth 
and Southampton that the French were landed. 1 have 
since heard that this was a party ruse, to stir up the anti- 
Gallican feeling. The drums beat to arms. My father's 
troop turned oiit. My mother packed up a travelling trunk, 
to fly into the interior. It nearly cost my grandmother her 
life, she was near dead of fright. 

The return to the liberty and luxuries of home, after 
roughing it at a boys' school, is of all things the most 
delightful, yet I always got rather weary of the idleness of 
home, and was almost glad to go back. Soon after my 
return to school, I saw two strange exhibitions. One was 
the chopping off of a duck's head, and the bird running for 
a short distance afterwards, which we thought good fun. 
The other was the killing of a calf, which I remember 
shocked me exceedingly. I think I see the animal stunned 
by the first blow now, the only execution I have ever seen of 
the kind. Little Montague, who let us into these good things, 
took us the same half year to see a corpse. A female rela- 
tion (not an old person) of Mrs. Cleater, no less a personage 
than the accredited vendor of gingerbread and pies, &c., to 
the school, had died next door to the school. We saw the 
corpse laid out, covered with flowers ; I recollect thinking it 
a pleasing sight. Montague knew that I and Tom were 
great pets of Eachel Davies, a girl of about thirteen, 
daughter of our reverend schoolmaster, so he bethought him 
to send me to Miss Eachel to ask, as a great favour of her 
father, to let us little ones, M. included, go to the funeral. 
This favour she obtained, and took us. Her father ofiiciated. 
We thought ourselves in great luck, for a private soldier was 
buried the same day, and they fired over the grave. Tor 
weeks afterwards there was nothing but acting funerals, 
which superseded every game. Small graves were dug near 
the corner of the playground, or to whatever place the boys 
walked out, and some blocks of wood covered with a pi&ce of 

6 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. r. 

crape carried as coffins, and some going -with their pocket- 
handkerchiefs to their eyes as mourners. I seem to see 
Montague now, with something like a gown on, lifting up 
his hands, and repeating, in exact mimicry of our old peda- 
gogue, ' Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.' AVhen we 
buried soldiers, we made a grand row, to represent the 
musketry, and threw handfuls of dust for smoke. 

Of all the dreaded penances which we had to undergo we 
thought going to chiirch, sitting whole hours doing nothing, 
incomparably the worst ; far more intolerable than lessons, in 
which I always had some mixture of pleasure. We took 
marbles in our pockets, to play at 'odd or even,' to relieve the 
tedium, and many other devices, for which we often got 
punished. I one day, as we returned from church, asked 
Montague 'what could be the meaning of "to beat down 
Satan under our feet " ? ' He was always ready with an an- 
swer, by which means he kept up his authority amongst us, 
and we gave implicit faith to his decisions and explanations. 
But this was nearly a poser. He replied, howevei', without 
hesitation : ' I cannot t^ll you, but T will show you by-and-by 
how to do it.' So he took our little squad to a shallow pool 
of water, and taking oiF his shoes and stockings, jumped 
about in it, splashing us all over, and then said he had been 
beating down Satan. I did not presume to doubt his inter- 
pretation, but for years afterwards thought it so odd that he 
Lad not jumped on a piece of satin, instead of water, which 
was only soft like satin. 

I have not reached the beginning of my tenth year, and 
have not left Eingwood. The last half-year I was there, a 
set of strolling players set up a stage in a barn, and per- 
suaded our master to let the whole school attend. They 
acted ' Hamlet.' T had never read a play, nor had any notion 
of such a thing before, yet I entered into it so much that 
the impression remained very vivid, and when, years after- 
wards, I read the play, I thought the effect much heightened 
from my former recollection. In almost every other instance 
when I have read Shakspere first, I hare found the acting fall 
short of my conceptions of the play from reading ; besides 
the natural indignation one feels for the liberties they take 
in altering the text, which I never could endure even as a 


schoolboy. I remember being puzzled at the play within 
play in ' Hamlet,' but my delight in the Ghost scene was very 
great. I should like much to know what was the degree of 
mediocrity of the poor itinerants, for I question whether I 
have ever thought any acting since comparable to them. 

It was now decided that Tom and I should leave Mr. 
Davies's, who was no great scholar, and whose set of boys 
was of a very mixed kind, and not so select as my father 
thought he might get at Salisbury — at Dr. Radcliffe's. This 
Dr. Radcliffe was a good man, and kept a school of about 
fifty boys, and all of the very best families in Wilts, Dorset, 
and part of Hants. We had the Portmans, Windhams, 
Beresfords (Hish), Beckfords, Preston, &c. The Doctor 
was a good Oxonian classical scholar, and had two good 
ushers. We had a long holiday at home between the 

Bartley belonged to a Major Gilbert, and consisted of 
eighty English acres, seventy of which was laid down in 
grass, and produced hay, which was celebrated as the best in 
the county for the hunters — for Lyndhurst was only two 
miles off where the New Forest hounds were kept. The 
hay harvest, therefore, was a great concern at Bartley, and 
when we returned home for each summer holiday the mow- 
ing was always just beginning. We (Tom and I) used to 
attend the mowers all day, and learnt to mow a little, and 
used to tumble about with Marianne and Fanny in the hay- 
cocks, and ride in the loaded waggons to the haystack. It 
lasted the greater part of our five or six weeks' holidays, as 
part of the land was always three weeks later in being cut. 
I have always since thought haymaking the most delightful 
of sights. We always had our small rakes and forks, and 
used to try how much we could glean after the waggon. As 
the whole of this grass land was unenclosed, and surrounded 
the house, it made a good-sized park, and was full of fine 
old oaks, some of which the Major cut down whenever he 
wanted a few hundred pounds, for which I always owed him 
a grudge, for I knew every tree, great and small, and used to 
miss them as you might a piece of old furniture in a room. 
To every clump and single tree in the park I gave a name. 
One was 'Eingwood,' another 'Salisbury,' or ' London,' or 


' Paris,' &c. Single trees were named after flowers, an odd 
fancy : thus one was called ' Geranium.' These names were 
afterwards adopted bj the rest of the young ones. Although 
I never forgave the Major for cutting the large oaks, jet 
there was nothing I was so fond of as seeing trees felled. 

We were now allowed to roam about a good deal by our- 
selves, and I always contrived to learn where the trees were 
to be cut within reach of a walk, which was very frequent, 
for the demand for the navy was then most pressing; and 
besides the thousands of splendid oaks then cut near Lynd- 
hurst, a great number of beech trees were also consumed, 
for every house has a right to a certain share of firewood, 
by old custom, from the king's forests. I have been reading 
lately that the Government surveyors found that fortj' acres 
of the best soil for oaks were required to build one seventy- 
four gun-ship, the oak being a century old, and a fair pro- 
portion of young trees being left. In other words, that fort}' 
acres of good oak soil would produce a seventy-four per cen- 
tury. The ' Agricultural Journal ' adds : ' In all Scotland 
there is not now ash timber enough to build two large men 
of war.' Tou maj' suppose that when such numbers of 
frigates and so many men of war were built at the time I 
allude to, at Portsmouth, which was so near, and when the 
price of timber was at its height, how annually, at ' one fell 
swoop,' large spaces were denuded of their noblest trees. 
In order that a large tree might not injure younger wood in 
its fall, much skill was required in so driving in wedges, after 
the tree was sawed through near the root, as to direct its 
weight to some clear space. The last wedge being driven in, 
the tree was supported by its roots, and when all were severed 
but one strong root, and this half cut through, the axe used 
to be given to us boys, and we had the pride, at one blow, of 
finishing the work. The tree at first moved slowly, then fell 
with great rapidity, and with a magnificent crash as the 
boughs reached the ground. 

I had only reached my tenth year when I went to Salis- 
bury, sixteen miles from home, to Dr. EadclifPe's— a school 
in the middle of a large town, whereas Eingwood school was 
in the suburbs of a small one. In this respect we thought 
the change for the worse. Instead of a large meadow for a 

i8o7. OLD SARUM. 9 

playground, near a river, where we could bathe, and where 
we were in the country the moment we walked out, which 
we enjoyed at Davies's, we had now a small yard surrounded 
by walls, arid only walked out twice or three times a week, 
when it did not rain, and were obliged to keep in ranks 
along the endless streets and dusty roads of the suburbs of 
a city. It seemed a kind of prison by comparison, especially 
to me, accustomed to liberty in such a wild place as the New 
Forest. Our favourite walk on holidays was to Old Sarum, 
the celebrated rotten borough where one alehouse, with its 
tea-gardens attached, sends two members to Parliament, and 
which Lord Caledon bought no great time since, at its full 
price, little thinking of the evil day which approached. Sir 
Eufane Donkin remarked to me that the fact of Alexander 
Baring having given 42,000^. for a borough within a year 
of Schedule A, had destroyed his (Sir E.'s) confidence in 
the funds, for in this case too, he says, shrewd merchants 
may equally miscalculate the approaching era of the sponge. 
But I must not run into such digressions. This Old Sarum 
is a singular isolated chalk-hill, on the summit of which is a 
splendid old camp, with a deep triple trench. I have seen 
many, but not one where the moats are so deep, and the 
slope of the high banks so rapid. We used to heap piles of 
large chalk flints on the opposite ridges, and set them run- 
ning to the bottom, where they broke on meeting and dash- 
ing against each other, as they descended from the opposite 
sides. Then we examined to see which had crystals of calce- 
dony in the middle, or of sparkling quartz. Near the centre 
of the flat space enclosed within the mounds and trenches 
was a deep long subterranean tunnel, said to have been used 
by the garrison to get water from a river in the plain below. 
But whatever its former use, it was to us a great source of 
fun. According to established custom, I and some other new 
comers were taken to the mouth of a subterranean passage, 
in which the air was very cold. While we stood looking down 
and wondering, all sorts of tales were told of its enormous 
depth, and how it grew steeper far down, and ended in a 
pool of water, &c. Then some of the initiated got behind 
us, and knocked off all our hats, which began to roll down, 
and were soon out of sight. After a great laugh at our 


expense, and when we were in dismay at the thoughts of 
parading the streets of Sarum in hatless plight, a guide was 
appointed, whose duty it was to take all of us down in search 
of our lost property. TVe went down many hundred yards, 
standing upright, then were obliged to stoop. Here I found 
my hat, but the others had gone farther, and their owners 
were obliged to crawl on, upon all fours, with their guide. 
They soon came to a large chamber, very dark, where, after 
groping about in the dark, they found their hats, greatly 
improved, of course, as was mine, by knocking about upon 
dripping chalk and hard flints in their descent. The passage 
went on, but how far, I know not. 

At Eingwood I think my studies were confined to English, 
to writing and reading, and getting things by heart. At 
Sarum I began the Latin grammar, which, disagreeable as 
it is, is considered by most schoolboys as a piece of promo- 
tion when they first begin it. There was nothing at Ead- 
clifie's for exciting the emulation of the boys, and as I had 
an aversion to labour, which nothing but such a stimulus 
could overcome, I learnt but little during the two years I 
was at this school. 

Bartley appears still to me, and all of us, more a home 
than even this (Kinnordy). It is the home of our recollec- 
tions, at least, and it was the place where as schoolboys Tom 
and I spent our holidays. Had I spent them here, I am 
sure I should have had a delight in Kinnordy which I shall 
never have now, — much as I like it. All the trees in the 
park were oaks, and in the surrounding hedge and ditch 
were oaks, beech, and a few clumps of fir. Xear part of a 
group which I named 'London' there was an eld brick kiln, 
overgrown with briars, which I may mention again. A 
clump of trees on the slope of the hill was ' Eomsey,' and a 
single tree in front of the right wing of our house was always 
styled ' The Umbrella,' from its shape. It was a fine oak, 
spreading equally on any side. 

To return to SaKsbury, we called our pedagogue Dr. Ead- 
cliffe ' Bluebeard,' because he had then his tlxiri wife. She 
died soon after I left, and he married a fourth, who I believe 
is now alive. He was a diligent teacher and fair scholar, 
and had a very rare merit, that of impartiality, which many 


of his ushers had not. One of these, Monsieur Borelle, the 
French master, was much disliked for favouritism. He was 
an emigrant, had been in the army, and being very poor, 
Dr. R. gave him leave to sleep in the house. His room 
was within one in which I and eight others slept. One 
night, when we were very angry with him for having spatted 
us all round with a ruler, for a noise in the schoolroom, 
which only erne had made, and no one would confess, we de- 
termined to be revenged. We balanced a great weight of 
heavy volumes on the top of the door, so that no one could 
open it without their falling on his head. He was caught 
like a mouse in a trap, and threw a book in a rage at each 
boy's head, as they lay shamming sound sleep. Another 
stratagem of mine and young Prescott (son of Sir G-. P.) 
was to tie a string across the room from the legs of two 
beds, so as to trip him up : from this string others branched 
off, the ends of which were fixed to the great toes of two 
sound sleepers, so that when Monsieur drew the lines, they 
woke, making a great outcry. At last we wearied him out, 
and, he went and slept elsewhere. I conclude that there 
were far too many hours allotted to sleep at this school, for 
at all others we were glad to sleep after the labours of the 
day, and got punished for late rising in the morning, and 
being too late for i-oU-call. Here, on the contrary, a great 
many of our best sports were at night, particularly one, 
which, as very unique, and one which lasted all the time I was 
there, I must describe. It consisted of fighting, either in 
single combat, or whole rooms against others, with bolsters. 
These were shaken until all the contents were at one end, 
and then they were kept there by a girth of string or stock- 
ings. This made a formidable weapon, the empty end being 
the handle, and the ball at the other would hit a good blow, 
or coil round a fellow's leg, and by a jerk pull him up so 
that he fell backwards. The rules of our military code for 
the ' bolster-fight,' which were observed with the rigour 
which boys always introduce into their sports, were as fol- 
lows. No one could put on any clothes, save chemise and 
nightcap ; no one might return kicks or fistycuffs for blows 
with a bolster ; no more than two rooms which were con- 
tiguous, or leading into the others, could join forces either 


for attack or defence. The invading party were always to 
station a watch at the head of the stairs, to give notice of 
the approach of ' Bluebeard,' for he was particularly severe 
against this warfare, though he never succeeded in putting 
it down. He used to come up with a cane, which, as none 
were clothed, took dire effect on those caught out of bed. 
He had a fortunate twist in his left foot, which made his 
step recognisable at a distance, and his shoe to creak loudly. 
This offence was high treason, not only because it led to 
broken heads and made a horrible row in the night, but be- 
cause Mrs. Radcliffe found that it made her bolsters wear 
out most rapidly. 

I shall never forget the confusion when the scout gave - 
notice that the enemy was approaching. The invaders ran 
most risk, as they had to make their way back to their 
room, but in compensation they were able, when they sur- 
prised a chamber of sleepers, to give them all a good blow 
round before they began to fight. If some could not make 
good their retreat, I have known them get up the sooty 
chimney, and when the Doctor was in the inner of the two 
rooms, descend and get to their bed before he came back; or 
if they were so unlucky as to be in the inner room of the 
two invaded, they could only conceal themselves, and their 
friends at home would sometimes get them off by putting a 
bolster into their bed with a nightcap on, to be mistaken for 

Among other amusements, was keeping field mice in 
boxes, concealed under our beds. These were dug up in the 
fields, with their stock of nuts and grain, a favourite sport. 
The young mice were carefully educated in the use of a small 
musket, for they were very docile, and would hold the small 
piece of wood between their fore feet, and shoulder, ground, 
and present arms, at word of command, and go through a 
whole drill. You may suppose that by this odd feat being 
taught the little animals, that we were at that time in the 
habit of seeing a drill. In fact a sergeant was employed 
twice a week to driU us, and we had all guns with tin barrels 
and locks, a strange fancy rather, but .as there were volun- 
teer corps everywhere, I suppose Dr. E. had his head full of 

i8o8. ILL— SENT HOME. 13 

the chances of invasion. The exercise, however, of the drill, 
was very proper at a school. 

I had the measles at this school, my first year I think, 
very severely. I was in a high fever, I thought myself for 
two days going round a numher of wheels in all directions, 
one of which transferred me to another, until I was giddy ; 
and I thought there were thousands of others going round 
in the same manner, which appeared whichever way I turned. 
I had long a fear of going to sleep afterwards, lest this, which, 
however, was a waking dream, should return. 

At this time, in my eleventh year, 1808, my Aunt Ann 
married Captain Heathcote, R.N. This connection brought 
us into still greater intimacy with Mr. Heathcote, then M.P. 
for Hants, afterwards Sir Thos. H., and during our holidays 
Tom and I paid some pleasant visits to Embley. My Grand- 
mamma Lyell had till now resided at Southampton with her 
two daughters, the eldest of whom, Mary, still lived with her 
there. They came over once to the music meeting at Sarum, 
a triennial fete, and took Tom and me to part of it. Soon 
after this I was ill, and Dr. Fowler of Sarum rather alarmed 
my mother about the air of Sarum being bad for me, and 
that I seemed falling into a consumption, and that my lungs 
were affected. I thought it all stuff at the time, though 
certainly I had some complaint on my lungs, which I have 
not had since ; but as I did not like Sarum, I did not try to 
make light of it, and was taken home for three months. As 
they were afraid to overtask me, I began to get annoyed with 
ennui, which did not improve my health, for I was always 
most exceedingly miserable if unemployed, though I had an 
excessive aversion to work unless forced to it. It happened 
that a little before this time my father had for a short time 
exchanged botany for entomology, a fit which only lasted 
just long enough to induce him to purchase some books on 
the latter subject, after which he threw it up, principally I 
believe from a dislike to kill the insects. I did not like this 
department of the subject either, but soon satisfied myself 
that their feelings must somewhat resemble that of plants, 
that one part can live long without the other, that they will 
eat after many of their limbs are cut off, fight when 


pins are stuck througli them, fly away when all their insides 
are emptied o^it, and other signs which imply a kind of 
vitality too remote from that of the higher warm-blooded 
animals to awaken any feeling of disgust in one who studies 
them much, at the idea of giving them pain, by the length 
of time which it takes to slay them, at least, unless the 
operation be unskilfully performed. Collecting insects was 
just the sort of desultory occupation which suited me at that 
time, as it gave sufficient employment to my mind and body, 
was full of variety, and to see a store continually increasing, 
gratified what in the cant phrase of the phrenologist is termed 
the ' accumulative propensity.' I soon began to know what 
was rare, aud to appreciate specimens by this test. In the 
evenings I used to look over ' Donovan's Insects,' a work in 
which a great number of the British species are well given 
in coloured plates, but which has no scientific merit. This 
was a royal road at arriving at the names, and required no 
study, but mere looking at pictures. At first I confined my 
attention to the Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, &c.), as the 
most beautiful, but soon became fond of watching the 
singular habits of the aquatic insects, and used to sit whole 
mornings by a pond, feeding them with flies, and catchiac 
them if I could. 

I had no companion to share this hobby with me. no one to 
encourage me in following it up, yet my love for it continued 
always to increase, and it afforded a most varied source of 
amusement. I was chiefly attracted by the beauty of the Le- 
pidopterous tribe ; in common parlance, by the butterflies 
moths, hawk-moths (sphinxes), besides the procuring thechry- 
salis and seeingitstransformation; andthe feeding andbreed- 
ing of caterpillars was another reason for preferringthis nume- 
rous and showy class. I soon, however, learnt to prefer the 
rare to the brilliant species, and was not long in discovering, 
by the comparison of one season with another, that each 
species had its peculiar time for appearing, some twice some 
once only in the year, some by day, some in the evening, and 
others at distant hours of the night. 

The only other insects that engaged in the least my atten- 
tion at that time were the aquatic. I was greatly surprised 
to find every pond tenanted by water-beetles of different sizes 

r8o8. LOVE OF INSECTS. 15 

and shapes, and to observe them row themselves along by 
the broad row of bristles attached to their legs. I threw flies 
and moths into the water and observed them rise, and learnt 
their relative strength, seeing some species relinquish the 
booty on the appearance of others. The long spider-like flies 
which run on the surface, the glimmer chafers which thread 
the surface, in what we called a figure-of-eight movement, the 
beetles which swim on their backs, and many others, such 
as the red tick, used to be caught and brought in a basin 
into my bedroom, and there kept, to the annoyance of the 
housemaids when the water was none of the sweetest ; and 
then the whole were fed with window-flies, until some died, 
and others took wing in the night, and flew back to their 
native waters. I passed nearly the whole day alone fishing 
for this small fry in some deserted gravel pit, or often in a 
great pond called the brick-kiln, just by the fir-trees called by 
us ' London.' This sport could be pursued even in winter, and 
often I have found the large water-beetles frozen in the ice 
which covered our ponds, and have brought home blocks and 
melted them out. By this same brick-kiln (out of which 
all the brick clay of which the house was built had been 
taken) there were a great quantity of brambles, the flowers 
of which in summer were usually ornamented by numbers 
of the most beautiful and rarest of the English butterflies. 
Among these, three varieties of Frittilary and the black 
Admiral (Camilla) were conspicuous. I was very ill 
supplied with instruments, both for taking and preserving 
my prey, and many insects of real value to the entomologist, 
as I afterwards discovered, were mutilated by being knocked 
down by my hats, and then pressed between the leaves of a 
white paper album. As my hats shared often in the mutila- 
tion, I received sundry admonitions on that score, till at last 
Miss ISTewlands, the governess, knit a small string net, a very 
poor substitute for the gauze apparatus which would have 
equally secured the flies, and kept them there when once in. 
The larger ones, however, could not escape from these toils, 
and the number caught was soon greater than I had the 
patience to preserve. After a time my Aunt Mary gave me a 
piece of furniture, henceforth called 'Charles's Secretary,' an 
heirloom, which was not wanted in their new lodging when 

16 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. i. 

they quitted that which my Grandmamma Lyell and her 
unmarried daughter had previously lived in in Southampton. 
This valuable acquisition was immediately turned into a 
cabinet for insects, -which, for want of a lining of cork in the 
drawers, were impaled on the softish wood in the bottom of 
each, which was nevertheless hard enough to turn the pins 
sometimes. I still possess this piece of mahogany, and 
although only fitted for a bedroom, I still look upon it as a 
favourite, and used to have it in my sitting-room in the 
Temple. Transfixing these insects upon the soft wood of these 
drawers was a great step beyond pressing them between 
paper, and some of the varieties thus preserved were after- 
wards useful to Curtis the entomologist. My father's head 
livery servant, John Devinish, who had been employed to 
botanise, and showed some skill in discovering some of the 
rare species of that minute tribe the Jungermannise (allied 
to the mosses), was the only associate I ever remember to 
have obtained in my rambles through the Forest. With him I 
formed as strict an alliance as his scanty leisure permitted, 
but any sympathy was valuable, any one sufficiently familiar 
with the commoner species to bo capable of appreciating a 
great treasure when carried to him on some triumphant occa 
sion. Instead of sympathy, I received from almost every one 
else beyond my home, either ridicule, or hints that the pur- 
suits of other boys were more manly. Whether did I fancy that 
insects had no feeling ? what could be the use of them ? The 
contemptuous appellation of 'butterfly-hunting 'applied to my 
favourite employment always nettled me, yet since one class 
of insects was sought to the exclusion of almost every other, 
a naturalist even might have found some point in such a 
disparaging designation of the hobby. It must be confessed, 
too, that the organ of acquisitiveness, of which eraniologists 
talk, was more bent on the miserly delight of amassing 
treasure, than in using it, for it was less for information than 
the love of possessing the specimens that they were accumu- 
lated. Of their history I knew but little, and still less of 
their structure, yet I knew most accurately to distinguish 
several hundred species, some very minute ; and still retained 
a very perfect recollection of nearly all, and could select the 
English butterflies and moth.s out of a foreign collection 


l8o8. ENTOMOLOGY. 17 

and without the aid of books, gave names to certain tribes, 
such as the ' fold-up-moths,' ' theyellow-underwings,' &c. &c., 
which I afterwards found were natural genera or families, 
and my rule of thumb classification had thrown them into 
natural groups. In the course of each holiday, for three or 
four years successively, I fell back into my old haunts in the 
woods, and became so keen before my return to school, that 
I could seldom resist the temptation of employing my leisure 
hours there in the same way. I could not see a rare moth with- 
out catching it, especially if not exposed to be laughed at by 
any witnesses of such a queer fancy. When taken, thej^ were 
put between the leaves of my dictionary, as the only book 
not taken up to lessons. When I looked out a word, I often 
found the two pages firmly glued together by some moth, the 
contents of whose body had been squeezed out between the 
leaves. The disrepute in which my hobby was held had a 
considerable effect on my character, for I was very sensitive 
of the good opinion of others, and therefore followed it up 
almost by stealth ; so that although I never confessed to 
myself that I was wrong, but always reasoned myself into a 
belief that the generality of people were too stupid to com- 
prehend the interest of such pursuits, yet I got too much in 
the habit of avoiding being seen, as if I was ashamed of what 
I did. 

Among the things which supported me in my secret 
estimation of entomology, was the number of expensive books 
on the subject which I found in my father's library. Many 
of these were full of plates, but these did not weigh so mucli 
with me as those written in Latin, and full of dry descrip- 
tions and hard terms, for it was evidence of the learned and 
studious sages who had devoted their time to it. But with the 
exception of a few scraps of LinnaBus, I never troubled any 
one of these learned writers, but whenever I got a new thino-, 
turned over all the plates, till I saw whether I could find the 
name by that royal road to knowledge. If found, the first 
inquiry was, whether it was rare. 

I have now reached the eventful period when I was about 
to leave Salisbury, and go to a new and last school. There 
was an interregnum of near half a year, in which Tom and I 
were taught by my father at home. I believe we got on 

VOL. I. c 

18 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. I. 

pretty Tvell. We read at tliat time Virgil's ' Eclogues,' &c., 
and a Frencli master came out twice a -week. At length it 
was decided that we should go to Winchester, but it was 
found that our names should have been down on the College 
lists for two years, to give us a chance of entry. So another 
school, as a sort of preparation I believe, was decided upon, 
kept by Dr. Bayley (once a master at Winchester, and an 
Oxonian), who had about seventy boys, in a school of ancient 
foundation, at the old (rotten) borough of Midhurst in 
Sussex, a beautiful spot just opposite the old park of the 
Castle of Cowdray, which belonged to the Montague family, 
the title of which is now extinct, and which belongs to 
Poyntz, who married the daughter and heiress. Dr. Bayley 
had married a Goodenough, one of the Bishop of Hereford's 
first cousins. He had been long in good society at college, 
and then at Winchester, and it was natural perhaps enough 
that he should feel the change to a small provincial place, 
where there was no society but a few tradespeople, &c. The 
school into which I was now ushered was a very different 
world from either of the former. From the age and number 
of the boys, and the system adopted, it had all the character 
of one of our great public schools. I was now past the age 
of twelve, and no longer reckoned one of the little boys. 
Whatever some may say or sing of the happy recollections 
of their school days, I believe the generality, if they told the 
truth, would not like to have them over again, or would 
consider them as less happy than those which follow* I 
felt for the first time that I had to fight my own way in 
a rough world, and must depend entirely on my own 

You have never heard, perhaps, how much the different 
boys struggle for power, and how exactly each learns at last 
to know who is his master, a supremacy which depends 
partly on spirit, or as they term it -pluck, and in part on 
physical strength. There are always some pugnacious fel- 
lows who rather delight in affrays, and in setting others on, 
and are the dread of the weak quiet-spirited youngsters. 
They are often bullies, who are afraid of many of their own 
age and strength, and knock under to them, but who tor- 
ment the quiet souls, and are hated as tyrants by the weaker 



and younger in the school. There are some from kindly 
feeling, hut many more who from a love of affording protec- 
tion, and feeling their own consequence hy shielding others, 
take a certain number under their care. You often hear 
some luckless wight who has been struck, exclaim, ' I'll tell 
C. of you if you hit me again.' As to telling the master, 
that is an appeal against the law whatever cruelty may pre- 
vail, and finds sympathy with none of the boys. One of 
the oldest boys in the school. Deacon Senior (for there were 
three of them. Senior, Secundus, and Junior), voluntarily 
took me under his charge for nearly all the first half year, 
out of pure kindness, and then told me I was old enough, 
and had been there long enough, to shift for myself. Xo 
sooner was it known that I could not resort to a patron any 
longer, than I began to be cufied aboiit and persecuted. 
Almost every boy has to fight one battle before he gains a 
position — before it is settled who is to be afraid of him, and 
of whom he has to be in fear. It required a good deal to 
work me up to the point to defend my independence, although 
I could not brook being put upon by my juniors, and about 
the middle of the second half year I was set down by many 
as incapable of resistance. At last I saw that not to resent 
and to fight, was a sure way of suffering more than any 
battle could entail, yet this was the result of reasoning, and 
I was never ready to retort immediately. One day a vulgar 
low sort of a boy, of the name of Tilt, had got into a quarrel 
with me, and a good many of the complimentary epithets so 
common among schoolboys, such as ass, fool, raff, and 
finally coward, were exchanged, upon which he hit me a blow 
which knocked me to the ground, and gave me a severe 
bruise on my head. As Tilt was a fall year younger and 
half a head shorter than me (though stronger built), I was 
annoyed beyond measure by this ignominious occurrence, 
and after some hours mustered up courage to declare to 
some boys who came to ask me if it was true that T. had 
knocked me down, that ' I should like to see him try it 
again.' Immediately the report was spread that I was 
ready to fight. The delight which the intelligence of an im- 
pending battle occasions is always great, and numbers came 
to pat me on the back, to offer to be my ' bottle-holder,' to 

c 2 

20 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. i. 

advise me to liave ' two minute rounds,' &c., and every expe- 
dient for prolonging the diversion. One was appointed to 
bold tlie watch and proclaim when the rounds were to begin. 
It was decided that instead of two, orly one minute should 
be allowed between each bout, so if one was knocked down, 
and was not up again and ready in one minute (the other 
calling on him to fight), the affair was over, and the one who 
declined coming to the scratch was to ' receive the cowardly 
blow,' a gentle tap, followed by a shout of the friends of the 
victor, and then sometimes, but rarely, by a shaking of the 
hands of the two combatants. This fight lasted two days, 
five or six hours each day, for there was no half holiday, 
and we were pretty equal. Tilt having learned to box, and so 
being nearly equal, though weaker than me. Both his eyes 
were black and his side much hurt, and his head swollen for 
a week after. I was, I believe, very much hurt, but my 
wounds were not in the face ; and though I ought to have 
been put to bed, as he was, my friends advised me to put a 
good face on it, and pretend not to be hurt, ' as it would 
make others twice as much afraid of me.' I suffered severely 
from sustaining this character for eight days. I recollect 
the pain at this moment — every bone ached, and I was black 
and blue all over my body, and so stiff, that when I walked 
up ' to hills ' on half holiday, I was obliged to get the arm 
of a friend. After an affair of this kind, there is a discus- 
sion amongst the different boys of the same age and stand- 
ing whether such and such a one ought to be afraid of the 
conqueror. Every disparaging circumstance is brought for- 
ward, and as I was a year older than Tilt, it was said that 
I ought to be ashamed of having taken two days to do him 
up ; ' besides, Lyell's more damaged than he pretends to be, 
his is a skin that don't show it so much as- Tilt's,' &c. In 
fact I gained less than most would have done from so severe 
a combat, yet every boy who was afraid of Tilt had from 
that day of course great respect for me and my fist ; and 
this saved me from much molestation, and I felt I had 
gained a great point. 

A short time after this, a most desperate battle took place 
between Carter (one of the cousins of the present M.P.), a 
Portsmouth boy, and Norris, two of the biggest in the 

i8i2. SCHOOL LIFE. 21 

Bchool in the second class. It lasted three days, and was a 
most savage concern. The pluck with which they fought on, 
after both had gi'own pale with the blood lost from the nose, 
and black with bruises, and when each could scarce totter 
on his legs from weakness, was a sight that I recollect think- 
ing barbarous and brutal ; but the eager enjoyment and 
admiration of the school at their pluck was surprising. 
You cannot imagine the extent to which the stronger and 
more spirited, domineer over the milder and more timid. 
You will see on a cold day, when a crowd of little boys are 
tound the fire shivering, three larger or more powerful walk 
up, and, ■withoni; any order or hint, the crowd steals off, and 
the three monopolise the warmth for hours, and will let none 
but themselves toast or boil or bake on the fire. There is often, 
too, a sort of tribute paid by the weaker to propitiate these 
majestic powers. They receive all kinds of presents, in 
order to make them less free with their cuffs and exactions. 
For though fagging was not allowed, as in some public 
schools, yet there is always much hard service exacted by 
the older and stronger from their inferiors in age and 
prowess. Some boys quite sink under this roughing, but in 
general they become more manly and hardier. If they have 
come from a comfortable home, have been petted and spoiled 
to some degree, are sensitive of insult and hard usage, and 
yet not possessing force of character enough and active 
courage to fight their way, they must go through a most 
painful ordeal before they feel themselves at all comfort- 
able, especially when about the middle of the school. The 
recollection of it makes me bless my stars I have not to go 
through it again. 

There were about seven classes, two of which were in- 
ferior to the one I was placed in, and at the bottom of which 
I found myself. Every year some from the top of each class 
were draughted into the class above — not those who hap- 
pened to be at the top when the half year was over, but, by a 
much more judicious arrangement, those who during the 
five months had been oftenest at the top or near it. I must 
describe to you how this was ascertained. The ' Classicus 
Paper,' an invention adopted I believe from time immemorial 
at Winchester, and some other of our great public schools. 



was kept by each class, in wliich document each boy's place 
at the end of the day was noted down. Thus, suppose there 
were eight boys in the class. Their names would be arranged 
according to the number which they had got the week before, 
when Forbes being least was Classicus, and had the fag of 
keeping the Classicus Paper. But as he obtained the mark 
of 13 during that week, and topped Lyell Senior, the last- 
mentioned dunce would take his place, and be Classicus for 
the ensuing week. The great satisfaction with which the 
said paper is handed over to another to keep, may be con- 

Feb. 2. 
A.D. ISll. 

Monday . 

Tues lav 


Thursday . 

Friday . 

Total . 




~- H 

— , "^ 

































42 i 40 36 33 24 

2 3 

3 2 


ceived, for it is considered as a place of some reproach. 
Every boy is put on to translate a passage in his turn, and 
as often as he fails, the word is passed on to the next below : 
if he knows it he takes the other's place. In this manner 
the attention of all is kept alive, for the boys at the top of 
the class are liable immediately to lose ground unless they 
are constantly attending to what those at the bottom are 
doing ; for when the last cannot answer to a question passed 
down, it goes over to the first boy at the top, and if he is 
absent, he loses a place immediately, however easy the query. 


I believe this and tlie Classicus Paper to be an admirable con- 
trivance for exciting a constant spirit of emulation, for 
checking favouritism in the teacher, for ascertaining the rela- 
tive strength of different boys, knowing how to promote 
them into other classes, fixing their attention, &c. At the 
end of the half year, all the totals being added together, the 
boy who had the highest number received a prize, and three 
or four of the first or more were raised into the class above. 
The competition was greatly increased, as boys rose to the 
higher classes, because those of the first had many valuable 
privileges. They were called ' The Seniors,' and constituted 
the magistracy, being empowered by the head master to keep 
the rest in order, to report on all boys found ' out of bounds ' 
or guilty of any other delinquency. Of course the entrust- 
ing such powers to young boys of sixteen to eighteen was 
liable to some abuse occasionally, yet it works well, and the 
effect upon the whole is, that much of the tyranny that 
would otherwise prevail, of mere physical force and bold 
daring dispositions over the meek and tenderer bodies, was 
kept down by the supremacy of responsible magistrates, 
raised to their station by talent, and usually younger than 
some of the idle bullying dunces in the inferior classes. To 
strike a ' Senior ' is viewed in the same light by the head 
master as for a junior officer in the army or navy to strike 
or challenge a senior, and such an act of insubordination 
was quite unknown. Besides, there were almost always one 
or two in the first class stronger than any other in the 
school, who made a point of enforcing the most complete 
respect to the weakest in the ' magistracy ' from the greatest 
of the junior boys. We used to see with great delight some 
youths who had been kept under by certain dreaded charac- 
ters, suddenly put over their heads by being promoted to the 
first class. The Senior might retaliate then upon his old 
enemy in a legitimate way, by being very strict in looking 
after him, and reporting any breach of the law, which might 
have been winked at in a less obnoxious individual. 

My ambition during the second half year was excited by 
finding myself rising near the top of a class of fifteen boys, 
in which I was ; and when miserable, as I often was, with 
the kicks and cuffs I received, I got into a useful habit of 


thinking myself happy when I got a high number in the 
class-paper. So great an effect had this on me, that if I was 
lower than usual, and we failed to get on certain occasions a 
half holiday on Friday (an extra treat given now and then 
from fine weather and other occasions), I used immediately 
to comfort myself with the idea that I should probably get a 
higher mark. On the other hand, if unusually high up, my 
anxiety was great to get the holiday, as then I was secure 
of that number. By this feeling, much of my natural 
antipathy to work, and extreme absence of mind, was con- 
quered in a great measure, and I acquired habits of attention, 
which, however, were very painful to me, and only sustained 
when I had an object in view. 

At the end of the first year arrived the anniversary, or 
what was called ' the speaking,' when certain boys recited 
verses written by themselves, those in the first two classes ; 
and the rest different Greek, Latin, and English passages. 
The rehearsal first began, at which every boy had to exhibit, 
and then ten were selected to perform before the public. I 
obtained ane of the places for reciting English, and was 
accordingly gifted with a prize, Milton's 'Paradise Lost,' of 
which I was very proud. Every year afterwards I received 
invariably a prize for speaking, until high enough to carry 
off the prizes for Latin and English original composition. 
My inventive talents were not quick, but to have any, is so 
rare a qualification, that it is sure to obtain a boy at our 
great schools (and afterwards as an author) some distinction. 
I had a livelier sense than most of the boys of the beauty of 
English poetry, Milton, Thomson, and Gray being my fa- 
vourites ; and even Virgil and Ovid gave mo some real pleasure, 
and I knew the most poetic passages in them. I was much 
taken with Scott's ' Lady of the Lake ' on holidays, when I 
had risen to the second class, and presumed, when the prize 
was given on ' Local Attachment ' in English verse (it being 
an understood thing that the metre was to be the usual ten- 
syllabic rhyme), to venture on writing it in the versification 
of Scott's ' Lady of the Lake.' The verses were the only ones 
out of the first class which had any originality in them, or 
poetry, so the Doctor was puzzled what to do. The innovation 
was a bold one : my excuse wag that he had not given out a 


precise metre ; on which he determined that this case was not 
to serve as a precedent, that in future the classical English 
metre was to be adopted, but mine was to have the prize, 
being eight- syllabic and irregular, and not in couplets. 

When in the second class, I wrote a Latin copy of verses 
(a weekly exercise required of all) on the fight between the 
land-rats and the water-rats, suggested by reading Homer's 
battle of the frogs and mice — a mock-heroic. Dr. Bayley 
had just drained a pond much infested by water-rats, which 
was on one side of our playground, and they used to forage 
on not only our cakes and bread and cheese in the night, but 
literally on our clothes and books. I am sure that from the 
date of this early achievement to the present hour I have 
never thought of this copy of verses ; but I can recall with 
pleasure the incident, and it convinces me that I must very 
early have felt a pleasure not usual among boys of about six- 
teen in exerting my inventive powers voluntarily. The plot 
was begun with a consultation of water-rats, to each of whom 
altisonant Greek names were given, after the plan of Homer 
— cake-stealer, gin-dreader, book-eater, ditch-lover, &c. 
The king began by describing a dream in which the water- 
prophet covered with slimy reeds appeared to him, foretelling 
that the delicious expanse of sweet-scented mud would soon 
dry up, and foreboding woes. Part of the warning was 
copied or paraphrased from the Sybil's song to the Trojans 
in the ' -ffineid ' of what should happen when they reached 
Italy. The dream and warning, taken, I suppose, from 
Agamemnon's to the Grecian chiefs, being communicated, 
the others entered into the debate what they should do, and 
it was agreed that, as the fates had decreed the drying up of 
the waters, they should migrate to a neighbouring sewer, 
and should destroy the house-rats, who consumed so much 
provender in the schoolroom, and who had usurped their 
rights. One passage, in which a chief was described as a 
great map-eater, and having at one meal consumed Africa, 
Europe, Asia, America, and the Ocean, was admired as a 
good specimen of pompous description of mighty deeds, on 
the first entrance of a hero in an epic poem. The verses 
ran on to thirty-eight, and when done, there was great 
discussion whether I should dare show up such a thing. It 


was thougM, however, a wondrous feat, till the second master, 
Mr. Aylitig, a youth of nineteen, who heard of it, said, ' I 
dare say it's all nonsense and bad Latin.' I was requested, 
in vindication, to let him see it before it went up to Dr. 
Bayley. To justify his own anticipation, he cut it up as 
much as he could, pointing out all the grammatical errors and 
one false quantity. Though he thus made many think light 
of it, and checked my growing vanity not a little, it of course 
had the effect of my correcting the lines, and rewriting a copy. 
Dr. Bayley, when he saw it, was much surprised at the 
correctness of the Latin, and struck, more than he chose to 
admit to us, with the invention displayed in the whole thing. 
He told the class that it was such good Latin that I deserved 
great credit, but he did not wish them or me to send him up 
more mock-heroics. 

From this time I took it into my head that I should one 
day do great things in a literary way, but my ambition was 
quenched afterwards, by failing in carrying off any prize at 

But I must not digress, but return to my school-days 
again. Indeed, I have already been running on to near the 
highest class in the school, whereas I must return to the 
long toilsome ascent of the ladder, and to my second half 
year, when I was just fighting my way among the boys, and 
getting out of the fifth into the fourth class by high numbers 
in the Classicus Paper. It was the custom of Dr. Bayley to 
have the highest classes chiefly under his immediate care, 
but once in six weeks each of the others came before him 
in review. This much dreaded inspection was intended 
not only for the boys, but also for the under-masters, and 
when the great Doctor called out in a thundering voice, 
'This class is disgracefully backward,' not only every boy 
in it quaked with fear, but the under-masters, if they had 
been idle, participated in the feeling of reproach. Two of 
these were university men — Ayling and Belin, the latter the 
son of a French emigre, and who had been brought up at 
Winchester, and I believe New College, Oxford. Although 
I abhorred these reviews as much as any one, yet when they 
were over I had usually the comfort of feeling I had gained 
in the Classicus Paper. The reason of this was that my 


father used during every holiday to require me to read with 
him, a certain part of every day, on the books vre were going 
to work at the half year following. In this exercise he 
always went out of the beaten path, and instead of confining 
me to the mere translation of the Latin and Greek, used to 
teach me the geography and mythology, &c. Now Dr. Bayley 
usually finished each day by a few questions quite out of the 
ordinary line, and I often astonished the class by answering 
them. Well do I recollect a day when I was within two of 
the bottom of a class of about fifteen, the first boy being 
asked what the ^Egean Sea was now called ? It was passed 
all the way down, every one staring with astonishment, and 
when I answered, 'The Grecian Archipelago,' and was 
ordered to take all their places, I sat down, feeling quite 
dizzy at the sudden elevation. From this height I should 
have been at once precipitated to my former place if I had 
been ' put on ' afterwards, but it was the end of the lesson, 
and we were dismissed, I scoring fifteen, a number nearly 
equalling an ordinary week's work. 

About the end of the first year a spirit of gambling 
began in the school, which reached its height about the 
middle of the succeeding half year. First it was draughts, 
a penny a game ; then some got cards, but these being 
against law, the Seniors suppressed them. The draughts, 
however, and betting on the game, and on other players, 
continued, and when all our money was gone, we gambled 
like savages for our food, and would have played for our 
clothes, if they had been part of the disposable goods 
belonging to us. It was common to hear this challenge, 
' I'll bet you my Wednesday's top slice, against your Friday's 
bottom slice, that I beat you most games out of five.' Now 
this you must know was wagering half a breakfast against 
another moiety, but as the two slices were of unequal value, 
the top, as we called it, of the round of the loaf being less 
than the bottom half, the better player who wished to tempt 
his antagonist by offering him odds, either staked his bottom 
slice against the other's top slice, or to-morrow's against one 
not to be paid for several days hence. Schoolboys gene- 
rally are as ravenous as wolves, and always almost fancy they 
have too little to eat. They take much exercise, are usually 


in fine vigorous health, not over-fed, as at home, and ready 
to devour the allotted portion. You may imagine, therefore, 
the misei-y of the famished gambler, vrho was obliged, when 
the sound of the breakfast bell rang, to go and seat himself 
in the midst of the others, who were eating their bread and 
butter, and drinking each a small basin of warm milk and 
water, without having himself more than half, and often 
none, of his ration. Payment was always rigorously exacted 
and made, but some were able to borrow when in distress, 
though usually on usurious interest. ' If you'll lend me half 
a slice to-day, I'll pay you a whole one on Saturday.' Some 
of those who had lost all their breakfasts for several morn- 
ings running, of whom I was occasionally one, got into a 
habit of taking out one of the iron bars of the window, and 
getting into the breaktast-room, or stealing in when the door 
was left open, while John Budd, the purveyor, was gone out 
to get the milk, having laid out the bread and butter. 
When in, thej' clipped small bits off the slices of the larger 
rounds, which would best bear it, and picked the butter out 
of all the holes in the spread slices. They were caught more 
than once at this petty larceny, and made severe examples 
of by the other boys, without the interference of judge or 
jury. I was cunning enough to escape one of these suQimary 
punishments, but was olteu in a dreadful fright ; and once, 
when I heard Budd approach, had nothing left for it but to 
disguise my face and rush out, knocking him over, with half 
his milk streaming in the gutter. Upon this he complained 
to the Seniors of the depredation, and on their instituting an 
inquiry, they soon got to the bottom of the whole evil, and 
made a regulation that no boy should pay away more than 
half his breakfast on one morning. They also kept guard on 
the breakfast- room. 

A rage for chess succeeded to draughts, and I gave my- 
self over to this with great devotion, to the great detriment 
of my advancement in the school. Instead of wholesome 
exercise, football, cricket, fives, &c., I confined myself with 
others during the hours of play to the schoolroom, over a 
ehess-board, when the mind was excited with the same kind 
of feelings which are aroused by gambling, and the lassitude 
which follows is perhaps greater. Instead of allotting an 

i8i3. MUSIC. 29 

extra half-hour to work, to get a higher place in the Clas- 
sicus Paper, I was ever contriving means to steal a game of 
chess, out of sight, during school hours. At the end of the 
second year, a new hobby took possession of me — music. 
One of the boys had a flageolet, another a flute, which they 
played tolerably. Mr. Ayling also played the flute pretty 
well. I had an ear, and was very desirous of accompanying, 
so I set to work for it on a small octave flute, and when I 
returned home my father gave me one of his large flutes, 
which he had once played very well. As I always took up 
every hobby with energy, I soon learned to play a certain 
number of tunes from notes, and to accompany. Some of 
the boys who had finer ears were good at setting our flutes, 
so as to be in perfect unison ; and as there are no discordant 
sounds on wind instruments, at least flutes, the music we 
produced was by no means despicable, and among the boys 
greatly admired. Some theatricals having been got up, we 
had a regular orchestra to play between the acts — three 
flutes, two octaves, a tambourine, and, by way of melodious 
accompaniment, a triangle. The second year of my hobby 
I had eight flutes in my hand, as it was called, of which, how- 
ever, I was an unworthy leader, two of the others being 
much better players, and having taken lessons. Dr. Bayley 
became at last annoyed at the incessant flute playing, which 
was heard even at his house, but knew not how to interfere. 
One day I happened to observe that one of the hall tables, 
when set in a particular way, gave a sound very like a 
kettle-drum, the middle boards, which were long, vibrating, 
and producing a fine mellow drum-like sound. I accordingly 
got my band into the dining-hall, to the great delight of the 
boys, but it attracted a crowd in the street every evening, 
and gave the Doctor an excuse for putting a stop to it. Our 
first Trench master, Monsieur Flambard, an emigre, had now 
left, and in his place a Monsieur Simon (?) came, a believer 
in animal magnetism, and who looked like a thoroughbred 
fiddler. He played well, and having no person to listen to 
him, he wished to join our musicians, and to instruct us. 
But his notions of application were far beyond those which 
idle schoolboys could tolerate. Most of the boys liked our 
flutes better than the thin meagre sounds of his cat-gut, 


thougla he really played excellently, and I suspect liad been 
professionally in the orchestra in the London theatres. So 
after several unsuccessful attempts to drill us into perform- 
ing an overture with him, he cut us, protesting there was 
not one note in tune, from beginning to end of our perform- 
ance. I suppose this was nearly true, but I for one felt this 
aspersion on our musical talents a vile libel, and we gave out 
that he was jealous of the superior melody of wind instru- 
ments ; and his miserable violin, and the attitudes in which 
he placed himself, and his cries to us not to play so loud in 
the 'tenderer passages,' and other directions, became a 
standing joke and subject of ridicule. At last we pretended 
that we were overwhelmed with contrition, and coaxed him 
back to an evening rehearsal. Just as he was performing a 
solo infinitely to his own satisfaction, we all, at an agreed 
signal, burst in with flutes, three fifes, triangles, tam- 
bourines, and every noise we could make, to the infinite 
delight of the bystanders ; and I am sure the Enraged Musi- 
cian in Hogarth would not have supplied a better subject 
for a picture. 

About the second year of my Midhurst campaign, before 
Tom went to sea. Lady Ramsay (of Bamff, Perthshire) put 
her two eldest sons to Dr. Bayley's, induced by my father 
having us there (Sir James E. and his brother George, who 
afterwards went to Harrow). She used to have us out on 
Sundays once a fortnight, a great treat, principally because 
we got off one of the churches, which all boys abhor, and 
then we got liberty to walk where we liked. We employed 
the time chiefly in hunting for the eggs of partridges and 
pheasants. It was a great game country, and the preserves 
of the Poyntzes of Cowdray, Lord Robert Seymour, Mr. 
Blake, and others, afforded us great sport. I remember 
once finding a nest of pheasants, in which there were fifteen 
chicks and two eggs. We broke the latter, and out stepped 
the two chicks, and immediately thrust their heads under the 
egg-shells, all the rest of the body being exposed, apparently 
supposing that if they could not see us they were concealed. 
We often brought home enough good eggs to fill two coffee- 
pots, which were boiled next morning, and were esteemed a 
great treat; besides a vague notion that if detected we 

l8i3. BIRDS'-NESTING. 31 

might be transported to Botany Bay for this kind of poach- 
ing, added much in our estimation to the superior flavour of 
these eggs over those of a barn-door hen. 

One of the favourite amusements of many boys in the 
school, during our walks, was birds'-nesting, and I learnt the 
egg of almost every bird in that country, where there were 
a great variety. I was able to climb some trees which no 
other boys could scale, of which I was very proud, and this 
accomplishment made me greatly in request on certain occa- 
sions. I remember in particular an owl's nest, which could 
only be taken by a long-legged and long-armed boy, who could 
stretch up from one bough to the next. Once I took the 
young owls, which were petted, and fed for some time at 
home. The old ones flew out in my face. My way of des- 
cending these difficult trees (fine aged beeches in Mr. Poyntz's 
park), for the descent was the most dangerous part of the 
task, was one which I found out myself. Instead of coming 
down by the main trunk, I got along one of the long boughs 
tiU it bent down within reach of six or eight feet of the 
ground, and then I let myself off. But I could never take 
the jackdaws' nests, which were on trees without branches, 
and could only be mounted by boys who had power to grasp 
with their arms and knees. There were many beeches of 
great height, which ran up like palm trees, and up which 
some . . . 

[Here the autobiography ends.] 

32 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. ii. 





[At the age of seventeen, Charles Lyell was matriculated at 
Exeter College, Oxford. He was neither a hard student, nor idle at 
college, but he took respectable honours in classics, being in the 
second class. He gave occasionally some hours to entomology, with 
the late well-known naturalist, the Rev. Lansdown Guilding of St. 
Vincent's. Bakewell's ' Geology,' which he found in his father's 
library, was the first book which gave him an idea of the existence ol 
such a science as geology, and something said in it about the antiquity 
of the earth excited his imagination so much that he was well pre- 
pared to take interest in the lectures of Dr. Buckland, Professor of 
Geology at Oxford, who was then at the height of his popularity. 
Lyell attended a course of these lectures and took notes of them. 

He paid a visit in July 1817 to Mr. Dawson Turner and his 
family at Yarmouth, and the following month went to Forfarshire 
with his father. He then accompanied two college friends on a trip 
to Staffa.] 

To Chaeles Ltell, Esq., Baetlet Lodge, Stony Ceosp, 


Exeter College : February 29, 1816. 
My dear Father,— There is full as much necessary busi- 
ness here as I had at Midhurst the last year and a half. But 
at Corpus it is beyond everything. Although Norris has 
been diligent lately, fagging in the evenings and refusing 


iavitations, yet yesterday he and Richards, during a holiday 
which they had, sat five whole hours, from breakfast till 
dinner, working. Considering the expedition with which 
Norris gets over things, I think they have too much. It has 
prevented his writing for the Latin prize, which he was ex- 
tremely desirous of. In spite of all this he succeeds to the 
utmost of his wishes in keeping up among his acquaintance 
the highly honourable and fashionable title of a complete idle 
fellow. And it amuses me not a little to hear a certain 
friend of his, who is not over desirous that N. should out- 
shine him, so far as to take a first class, deplore the manner 
in which ' so clever a man throws away his abilities ! ' 

I have become acquainted with several gentlemanly men 
here, but as I at present know nothing about them, I will 
not fill the letter with empty names. Mr. Selwood has this 
moment been here to ask me to breakfast with him to- 
morrow. Unfortunately I am engaged. I have subscribed 
to the music room three guineas, being told by my out- 
college acquaintances that I might be sure all the men here 
did, and that I should be forced to go now and then, which 
would amount to more than the subscription for the year. 
There is to be no grand music-meeting here, although it is 
the third year. I believe the Imperial visit ' is to be thanked 
for it, which disburdened the University chest of rather 
more than 6,000Z. It will be long, they say, before it is en- 
cumbered with so much again. I have been into the theatre, 
to see the magnificent chairs which the great people sat in, 
and the Rostrum, which I should like to be reduced to the 
awkward situation of being exposed in. They have begun a 
reform at Trinity, at least as far as the enormous expense. 
Everything which goes on there is inspected, and one of 
their gentleman commoners told Norris yesterday that he 
should take his name off positively, for the Principal has 
declared that not an ice or a pine-apple shall enter the col- 
lege ! Dreadful extremity ! 

Believe me, my dear father, your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Lyell. 

• The visit of the Allies to England in June 1814. 

VOL. I. 


To Charles Ltell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Cross, Hants. 

Oxford : March 20, 1816. 

My dear Father, — I have got Gifford's ' Juvenal.' A short 
life of the author, written by himself in the most unaffected 
style possible, which precedes the translation, will prejudice 
you much in his favour. His mother, he tells us, was a 
carpenter's daughter, and his father scarcely so respectable. 
He was bound apprentice to a cobbler, and his first attempt 
at versification, indeed the first time he had heard of it, was 
a competition between his brother apprentices about writing 
some lines for the sign of an alehouse. So true it appears 
that great obstacles are rather assistants than otherwise to 
genius ; indeed, he confesses that nothing would have ever 
induced him to finish his translation after he had arrived at 
a state of affluence, unless he had received a subscription 
while at this college, which obliged him from motives of 
honour to fulfil his engagement. 

With Kirke White I was acquainted a long time ago, 
having met with his ' Remains ' at Midhurst. There is a 
delicious poetical, placid melancholy, which pervades almost 
all his writings, either in prose or verse, which is very inte- 
resting ; and nobody, we may venture to assert, ever joined a 
more amiable disposition to a more elegant mind. A small 
ode of his to ' An early Primrose ' is the only thing I know 
in English in the light way, which supports itself thoroughly 
without rhyme, so as to be as beautiful as any of Cowper's. 
I can conceive nothing which would give a person, who knew 
nothing of Latin, a better idea of what the Odes of Horace 
may be, though so distinct from our poetry. 

I have gone to the expense of an Oxford Calendar, for 
fear of being too strictly examined in Hampshire. I shall 
now shelter my ignorance with 'read, and you'll know.' 

The decision of the Property Tax has decided not a few 
bets this morning, and caused great joy here, though by no 
means general exaltation through Oxford. This is a com- 
plete Whig college, which you need not go twice into the 
common room to discover. They pretend that it was by far 
the greatest support of Lord Grenville, which is sufiBLciently 
improbable ; because, though we are strong in the number of 

i8i6. OXFORD. 35 

resident members, the number of names on our books is 
very few, consequently there are some colleges muob smaller 
who have double and treble the quantity of votes. Most of 
the men here come from Devon and Cornwall, and who of 
course, when bhey have taken their degree, never think any 
more of this part of the world. 

My love to all at home, and believe me, my dear father, 
your affectionate son,' 

Charles Ltell. 

To Charles Ltell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Cross, Hants. 

Exeter College, Oxford: May 14, 1816. 

My dear Father, — T have just been down to Dr. Williams. 
He is not at home to-day, but I called there yesterday with 
Tragitt, and thanked him for the roses. There is a most 
beautiful wild flower lately opened in Magdalen meadows, 
which reddens the whole meadow. I saw a plant of it in the 
Botanic Garden, and there was written on the stick, if I 
remember right, Fritillaria Meleagris. But it does not 
flourish in the garden, for I suppose it to be some water 

I was very glad to hear you were satisfied with the 
verses,^ as I shall now care less about a disappointment, as 
they certainly have not been written in vain. I am afraid you 
have no idea how backward I find myself in classics. Though 
I did not come here pufi"ed up with Deacon's high ideas 
that I should shortly become the first scholar in Oxford, and 
though I am not such a Ctesar as him, who, when he found 
he could not reach the height of his ambition, determined 
in despair never to look in a book again, yet I am confi- 
dently sure, that without working very hard indeed, I shall 
never arrive at the ' Mediocriter,' or at least never pass it. 

I cannot help being sorry when I reflect that since last 
June, when I left Midhurst, I can only say I have read the 
Odes of Horace ! For as to Herodotus, that part which I 
thought I knew perfect, I found the other day, in the schools, 
I knew nothing of, so puzzling are their questions in 
history. I was hearing a Corpus man examined. And here 

^ The Horses of Lysippus, by C. I,yell. 
D 2 

3G SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ii. 

is June coming round again ! The list of books which thej 
tate up for an under-the-line is very great, and the exanii- 
nat^on strict. C, the man of C. C. C, showed us what was 
to be done by attending to the Corpus lectures. He has 
always been otherwise an idle, dissipated, gaming man, 
notorious in name, even to my knowledge. Yet he certainly 
would have got a first class if he had taken up a little more 

I heard a story out of college the other day, which, 
though probably made in the first instance, shows in what 
estimation the Devonshire-^xeter-men were held when the 
college was entirely provincial. Now the greatest part of 
those West-countrymen that remain have rubbed off their 
dross in our public schools. This story is, that one of our 
men being examined for his degree, was asked, for the first 
question in divinity, ' who Moses was ? ' ' Moses ? ' he 
answered, ' knows nothing about Moses, but ax me about | 
St. Paul, and there I has ye.' There was a concert here last ' 
night, Matthews on his way from Bath, and performed gratis, j 

My love to all at home, and believe me, dear father, your i 
affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To Chaeles Ltell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Cross, Hants.! 

Exeter College : May 30, 1816. / 
My dear Father, — There is an address gone from Oxford, 
as perhaps you saw by the papers. It takes away the Vice- 
Chancellor, Proctors, &c. &c., by which means the prizes will 
not be decided this fortnight perhaps. There were sent in 
sixty-four copies for the English, double the usual number. 
Ellison, the tutor of G. C. C, who was elected Fellow of Baliol 
last term, and who is one of the cleverest men there, offers 
to take any bet in favour of a Baliol man, whose verses he 
thinks fully equal to any which have ever gained the Newdi- 
gate. I have seen a copy of this college, which I am afraid 
would be preferred to mine, as they lay more stress on 
describing the horses. The men here have taken a good 
deal of interest about ' Christabel,' as the author is an uncle 
of our Coleridge.' The criticisms in the ' Times ' are so 
' Lord Chief Justice Coleridge. 

l8i6. CHRISTABEL. 37 

good in general on dramatic pieces, that I was surprised to 
see anything so bad as that on ' Christabel.' You would take 
it for a long poem, from that flaming account, instead of a 
thing about as long as that column and a half in the ' Times ' 
about it. You would read it through at breakfast easily. 

Its appearance now seems very strangely timed, though 
the ' Times ' finds, as a cause, the ' Indolence of Genius.' 
Ushered in by Lord Byron's recommendation, and supported 
by this puff, I can't help considering it as a vehicle to raise 
money. There are certainly poetical beauties in it, but it is 
curious that when Scott had shown us all the powers of this 
new style, the original discoverer of which certainly deserves 
infinite praise, and when he had himself exhausted it, and 
the ' Lake Poets ' had increased our fastidium, and the 
Imitatores servum genus, had worn it out — when it had 
flourished in youth, and died a natural death in old age- 
then is produced its birth ! It is rather like a prophecy 
which is related after the event. Though you don't wish to 
dispute the fact, one cannot help thinking it a pity that it 
was not told you before the circumstance fell out. But the 
evil is, the public must feel it in some manner their duty now, 
when all the pleasure of novelty is fled, to give Mr. Coleridge 
a great part of that unbounded applause which Scott carried 
off. But my opinion of Scott is not at all diminished. I lay 
so much stress on the style, because it strikes me in that 
consists all the originality. In the story there is not a clue, 
nothing to interest you but singularity . 

I daresay you will laugh at my presuming to pass my 
opinions on this, with all the insolence of the ' Edinburgh 
Review,' unsupported by their soundness of judgment, but I 
have my excuse. It is the common vice here, Defendit 
numerus,- — a latitudinarian principle, I confess. 

Give my love to all at Bartley, and believe me, my dear 
father, your affectionate son, 

Chables Ltell. 

To Chaeles Lyell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Cross, Hants. 

Exeter College : Thursday, October 31, 1816. 

My dear Eather, — You will be surprised to hear that the 
examination is over, and, much to my satisfaction, I have 


had but few days here, but I do not know what I should 
have done without them. As soon as I arrived here, and it 
was known that I meant to go up, I was sent for before the 
three tutors. Jones evidently was offended, that after 
attending his logic lecture for a term, I had thought 
myself so ignorant in it, as to choose mathema.tics ; but 
Dalby was still more so, beca.use, after refusing to attend his 
mathematics, I had taken them up. ' And how did you get 
them up ? And when ? Who assisted you ? ' 

He told me to come to his rooms, and unless I was 
advanced a certain way, it was ridiculous to think of passing. 
He found me perfect in the propositions taken singly, but he 
puzzled me dreadfuUj^ in general questions about the relation 
of one to another, and he dismissed me peevishly. ' Well, you 
can go up, but you will make but a very, very poor show ! ' 

I worked m.ost perseveringly all the week, and when he 
examined me afterwards, the day before I went up, he 
declared me marvellously improved. I was the last on the 
list, that is of the eight who were examined the same day, and 
they gave me, to employ the time, three propositions to prove 
on paper which were not in Euclid, which, as some of my 
companions who took up six books could neither make head 
or tail of, they gave me great kv'^os for doing correctly, and 
gave me another stiffener, the proof of which I got at, to 
their surprise, though they said it was neither by the short- 
est road nor by the way they intended. Horace and 
Sriphocles went off without a blunder, except in the declen- 
sion of one unfortunate Greek noun. Dalby gave me the 
viva voce examination in mathematics, but he did not give 
me one of the questions which he did in preparing me. He 
paid me some flattering compliments this morning after an 
Aristotle lecture, but I am well aware that it was not solely 
because I did well, but because he thought I should have 
done so much worse. 

Speaking of Aristotle, I was surprised to find what a 
number of deep scholars there are, even in this college, 
which has but till very lately not pretended to bear any 
great literary character. It is no presumption in me to say 
that Dalby has chosen the picked men of the College, though 
I am included, since I found myself so iniinitely inferior to 

i8i6. LORD EXMOUTH. 39 

the greater part. I was thunder-struck to find that Enys, 
one of the idlest of our gentlemen commoners, a Winchester 
man, who seems to attend the lecture as a mere lounge, and 
who never intends to take a class, acquits himself better 
than I do, when I get it up carefully. They all, however, 
almost, are above my standing, and have read other parts of 
Aristotle. He is an astonishing stiff author. It is the 
seeing the superiority of others that convinces one how 
much is to be, and must be done, to get any fame ; and it is 
this which spurs the emulation, and feeds that ' Atmosphere 
of Learning ' which Sir Joshua Eeynolds admirably describes 
as ' floating round all public institutions, and which even the 
idle often breathe in, and then wonder how they came by 

T was surprised at Eamsay's ■* calling on me the other day, 
though I owed him a call. 

He seems to have been delighted with his call at 
Kinnordy. He came into the gallery to hear me examined 
yesterday, but had not patience to wait till my turn, which 
a great many kind friends did ; and the rush they made from 
the top benches to the lower ones, when I was called up, so 
completely deprived me of all confidence, that it was not till 
after many exhortations and entreaties that I could raise 
my voice enough for the masters to hear me. 

As for the confidence and quickness which you were 
speaking of, as one of the chief requisites of the Bar, I don't 
know whether intercourse with the world will supply it, but 
God knows I have little enough of it now in company, and I 
was surprised at feeling so much unconcern as I did in the 
Schools, but that was no criterion, since all things flowed 
then secundo flumini. Lord Exmouth ' paid a second visit 
here last week : he was presented with a Doctor's degree the 
first time, and the last with the freedom of the city. Our 
Eector was honoured with his last visit, therefore we got a 
good view of him. 

We have had torrents of rain here these last two days. 
I hope it is not so in N. B. Eamsay describes the tenants 
at BamflP as being in as miserable a state as any of those 

* Sir James Eamsay, Bart., of Bamff, Perthshire. 
' Admiral Yisoount Exmouth, who bombarded Algiers, 1816. 

40 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, ir- 

round Kirriemuir can be. I have not heard from Bartley 
since I have been up, but I shall write to-morrow, and 
beheve me, my dear father, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Chables Ltell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Gross, Hants. 

Yarmouth : - July 20, 1817. 

My dear "Father, — I got to London after not a very good 
night's rest, which I attribute more to the length of my legs 
than any other cause. I am sure I could sleep soundly if 
they could be shortened, but as I have no wish to undergo 
an operation like that practised with so much success by 
Procrustes, I shall hope that some opposition coach will be 
established, deeper and longer, to tempt the long-legged. 
As soon as I arrived at the Gloucester Coffee House, I 
dressed, put my letters in the post office, took my place in 
the Norwich coach, and walked to Sowerby's. 

When searching about the Row for his house, behold the 
very identical Ammonites Bucklandi ' was lying on the steps ! 
I went in and introduced myself, telling him by what means 
I had discovered his house. ' Ah,' said he, ' little I 
believe did they think at Oxford what advantage I should 
take of that joke. I hear Buckland was perfectly astonished 
when he read it.' I exclaimed involuntarily, 'Well he 
might be,' which he took in good part, laughing heartily. 

I visited the cast of Phidias and (talking of things on a 
grand scale) the elephant at Exeter Change ; also Bullock's 
Museum — got several commissions from Bullock to Mr. 
Hooker.' Saw the whole of Francilhon's collection of 
foreign and British insects, the first in the world. Might 

« On a visit to ilr. Dawson Turner, P.L.S., antiquarian and botanist. 

' Kemarkable for having frequently lost the inner whorls, which circum- 
stance has given rise to its name, in honour of the Kev. W. Buckland, who, 
having found a large specimen, was induced by his ardour to carry it himself, 
although of considerable weight, and being on horseback it was not the less 
inconvenient. But the inner whorls being gone, so as to aUow his head and 
shoulder to pass through, he placed it as a French horn is sometimes carried 
above one shoulder and under the other, and thus rode with his friendly com- 
panions, who amused him by dubbing him an Am/mon KnigM. 

" Sir William J. Hooker, F.E.S., F.L.S., author of many important botani 
cal Works, and Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew. 

i8i7. DR. ARNOLD. 41 

have identified all I wished, but, as you may imagine, had 
only time to write down the names of a few. The famous 
Kangaroo Beetle, the only one ever taken, is a Scarabseus, 
its hind legs of wonderful length and size, though I 
confess I admired it as the father in Horace his pet child : 

Hunc Varmn distortis criiritus. — Sat. 

Let those who wish to have an idea of the mag-niiicence of 
Nature, visit the elephant, those who wish to judge of her 
varietas insatiahilis, see Francillion's collection. I saw Sir 
James Smith ' at Norwich and the Linnsean insects, with 
some British added by Kirby. Saw the cathedral, and view 
from the spire, and found an immense number of Belemnites, 
Echinites, and bivalves in the chalk-pits near Norwich. 
Set off by the afternoon coach and arrived here safe. All 
well here, and desire their kind remembrances to you. Dr. 
Arnold,' the Javanese traveller, is indeed impenetrable, but 
you soon see he has much in him. The only subject 
on which he launches out is on Fossil Eemains, and then 
only if you get him quite alone. He has a large collection 
here, obtained from Norfolk and Suffolk, of Echini, Ammon- 
ites, and mostly Alcyonia found in flints. He has had 
the good nature to go over them all with me. I have copied 
for Buckland part of his paper, being a list of those which 
are described, and shall copy the rest. Avery large part are 
nondescripts, which he thinks of publishing. A Mr. Wigge, 
a botanist, who breakfasted here this morning, wished to 
know particularly if you had discovered any new Junger- 
mannia, and why I, being in the New Forest, where you have 
found so many, did not also take up botany. He is a 
character, but a very good-hxmioured, pleasant old man. 
Mr. Turner surprises me as much as ever. He wrote 
twenty-two (!) letters last night after he had wished us 
good-night. It kept him up till two o'clock this morning, it 
is true. A great many letters are constantly arriving from 

' Sir James Edward Smith, botanist, founder of the Linnsean Society, 
b. 1759, d. 1828. 

' Dr. Joseph Arnold, P.L.S., a zealous naturalist, who aocompanied Sir 
Stamford Baffles, the governor, to Sumatra, and fell a sacrifice to his exertions 
on their first tour into the interior, when they discovered the gigantic flower 
of a new genus of plants, afterwards named Rafflesia Arnoldi, 


travellers abroad, whicK lie entertains ns witli by reading. 
His smack scbeme was a good one, after all. They always 
know by signal, regularly kept up, of the aiTival of Scotch 
smacks in the roads, nine hours before they can come 
opposite the town. 

My dear father, your affectionate son, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

To Charles Ltell, Esq., Bartley Lodge, Stony Cross, Hants. 

Yarmouth : July 28, 1817. 

My dear Father, — I received your letter yesterday, and 
am not passing my time less pleasantly than you conjectured. 
What I see going on every hour in this family makes me 
ashamed of the most active day T ever spent even at Mid- 
hurst. Mrs. Turner has been etching with her daughters in 
the parlour every morning this week at half -past six ! 
Harriet has as much talent as all the others united, and her 
knowledge of Latin is astonishing. She has a more perfect 
conception of Virgil than I had at fourteen, and earns a 
shilling at least three times a week by doing her Latin 
composition without a fault, and does all with energy and 
good will. 

Dr. Arnold returned on Saturday, after being away four 
days. I was very glad of it, for as Mr. Turner has been 
much employed in the bank, I have had time to examine 
and consider the geological wonders of this country. The 
Doctor says my conclusions are exactly like his, which 
nobody ever knew he had made, and has become in conse- 
quence very communicative, and quite another person. 
Yarmouth is a delta formed at the mouth of the Tare. 
When first these sands rose, by the opposition of the sea-tide 
and river, Norwich was a great seaport (as we find records 
of), the violence of the tide being kept off by that bank, the 
estuary filled up vnth ' fluviatile detritus.' The Tare then 
wound through the present marshes, and entered the sea 
north of Tarmouth (Mr. T. says 'No '). The reason that it 
then turned off at right angles was, that the mouth being 
stopped up by the sea, it was obliged to find a new course, 
and the north river meeting it there, it flowed with it, south- 
ward, and entered a little south of the town, then two miles 

1 8 17. GEOLOGY. 43 

farther off, then four miles, at Gorleston, where the pier is, 
which you saw. All these ancient channels I found, and the 
Doctor confirmed them, though Mr. Turner laughs in spite 
of facts and tradition. The last movement of the river 
threw inland at least a mile of perpendicular sand, cliff 
16 feet high, on which the village of Gorleston stands. The 
terrace or platform on the top of this cliff is on a level with 
the marsh land reaching to Norwich. A friend of Mr. T.'s 
told us yesterday, that thirty-five years ago he could stand 
by the river, and see the hulks of the ships over the Deens, 
which rise now six feet and more, too high on the sea side 
for such a prospect, and yet the sea has not been over them 
all that time. Dr. Arnold and I examined yesterday the pit 
which is dug out for the foundation of the Nelson monument, 
and found that the first bed of shingle is eight feet down. 
Now this was the last stratum brought by the sea, all since 
was driven up by wind, and kept there by the ' Eest-harrow ' ''■ 
and other plants. It is mere sand. Therefore, thirty-five years 
ago the Deens were nearly as low as the last stratum left by 
the sea ; and as the wind would naturally have begun adding 
from the very first, it is clear that within fifty years the 
sea flowed over that part. This, even Mr. T. allows, is a 
strong argument in favour of the recency of the changes. 
Dr. Arnold surprised me by telling me that he thought that 
the Straits of Dover were formerly joined, and that the great 
current and tides of the North Sea being held back, the sea 
flowed higher over these parts than now. If he had thought 
a little more, he would have found no necessity for all this, 
for all those towns on this eastern coast which have no 
river god to stand their friend, have necessarily been losing 
in the same proportion as Yarmouth gains, viz., Cromer, 
Bakefleld, Dunwich, Aldborough, &c. &c. With Dunwich I 
believe it is VvAi lliwm. 

The Doctor told me that he has always thought that it 
was the meeting of the great north current with that of the 
English Channel that burst open the Straits of Dover. With 
this I was delighted, for he did not know that to the very 
same cause both Werner, Humboldt, Buckland, and others, 

' Ononis arvenais. 


as well as myself, have been attributing tbe existence of 
Great Britain as to its insular and probably political situa- 
tion, and by means of wliicb it must for ever maintain the 
former, and will, let us hope, the latter also for a very 
long time. Had not the Yare been turned off, as I told you, 
at right angles, it would have split into the Sejptem ostia 
Nili, and Yarmouth would have now been an extensive 
growing delta. All the acquisitions are now making south- 
wards, of course. 

A Mr. Edwards, an entomologist, dined here yesterday. I 
have found some Coleoptera scarce at Bartley. I have been 
leamingMusaus's ' Hero and Leander,' a Greek poem which is 
very beautiful. Mr. Turner has it at his fingers' ends. We 
play chess every evening. I have played twice with Mr. T., 
and beat him once. Miss Elizabeth plays nearly as well as he 
does. Mr. Turner has given me some plates of mosses for 
you, I believe from Mr. Hooker. 

Between Dr. Arnold's long catalogue of Norfolk fossils, 
and a map which I think I shall be able to make of this 
country, I flatter myself I shall compile some interesting 
information for Buckland, who is quite of White's opinion. 
' Local information, from actual observation, tends more to 
promote Natural History and Science than all that is done 
by the speculations and compilations of voluminous authors.' 
I want to find chalk cliffs at Norwich, which must exist, I 
am confident, and I think I shall have an opportunity of 
going there this week. 

Pray give my love to all, and believe me, my dear father, 
your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltbll. 

l8i7. YORKSHIRE. 45 


[Extracts from Journala in August and September, 1817, while 
travelling with, his father to Forfarshire, and afterwards on a trip to 
Staffa with Sir James Ramsay, Bart., and Mr. Corbett, of Christ 
Church, Oxford.] 

August 20, 1817. — The York coach carried us out of 
London early in the morning. The tunnel at Highgate was 
a new object, it was dag through the London clay almost 
entirely. We took a chaise to Helmsley in going out of York, 
and saw Lord Fitzwilliam's carriage and six, with six out- 
riders, and his son Lord Milton's carriage and four, with 
four outriders, both beautiful equipages. Lord F. runs a 
good many horses, and gained most of the plates this year. 
Lord Harewood was there ; his equipage exactly the same 
as Lord F.'s ; he runs no horses. Mr. Fawkes told my 
father that in the grand election contest between Lord F. 
and Lord H., to get their sons in for the county, when Wil- 
berforce was brought in free of expense, it cost each of 
them 200,000Z. Lord Lascelles was ousted, but the majority 
in favour of Lord Milton was very small. Lord H. imme- 
diately raised his rents 10,OOOL a year. 

At a small hamlet near this we saw an TJlmus montana, 
on a steep ' brae,' the most beautiful study for a landscape 
that can be imagined. A sort of stone work has been built 
under it, evidently to prevent the chance of such a treasure 
falling by the wind. We changed horses at Helmsley, and 
went through Duncombe Park. The old castle at the 
entrance is a fine ruin. 

And Helmsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, 
Slides to a scrivener, and a city knight — 

alluding to this castle, and the present proprietor of Dun- 
combe Park. This was not the first entrance to this beauti- 
ful seat which we had passed to-day : the first was a large 
arch with this inscription — ' To the memory of Lord Nelson, 
and the unparalleled achievements of the British Navy.' In 
ascending the Black Hambleton Hills, we passed up a very 


deep narrow glen, without a river (unfortunately for the 
Huttonians), and in descending the same hills we had a 
beautiful view of Whitestone ClifF, and Gormire, a tarn on 
the top of a conical hill. From thence we saw the whole 
valley into which we were journeying. 

I walked to Sowerby, a small village near Thirsk, and 
learnt from an old stonemason there, of the name of Dukes, 
that the lake of Gormire, which the common people think 
has no bottom, was fathomed once, and its depth was seven 
fathoms. The bottom is probably sandstone, as the whole 
hill is quarried for that rock. There are so many springs, 
that the crater overflows even after long droughts. Grouse 
are found on the Black Hambleton range, and the Duke of 
Rutland shoots there generally every year. These hills con- 
sist of magnesian limestone. The whole face of Whitestone 
ClifF fell down about twenty years ago, and left it in its pre- 
sent perpendicular state. It was dusky when we approached 
Newcastle, and the collieries made a magnificent spectacle. 
The heaps of loose small coal catch fire accidentally, they say, 
on account of the pyrites, which is highly probable. We 
slept at Newcastle. 

August 24. — We dined at Dr. Headlam's,'and they showed 
us Sir Humphry Davy's newly-invented safety lamp. The 
dispute concerning the priority of invention (or rather the 
doubt entertained, for Sir Humphry has not condescended 
to notice it) is warmly espoused by Dr. Headlam in favour of 
Stephenson.'' A service of plate has been voted to Sir H., 
which is to cost 15,000L at least. There are large iron- 
works near Newcastle, and lead-mines. The workers of the 
latter are very destructive poachers of the muir-fowl of the 
hills ; for having powder allowed them to blow the stones 
with, and being able to cast shot themselves, they have 
ammunition put into their hands. There are several steam- 
boats on the Tyne. The ^agle packet carried 500 people by 
way of experiment : 250 it accommodates pleasantly. 

August 25.^We got into a coach to go to Edinburgh, 
where we called on Jamieson in George's Square. He could 
not show us the museum and collection, as they are packed 

' A cousin of Ms mother's. * The eminent engineer. 

i8i7. EDINBURGH. 47 

up, on account of the college being at present building. The 
Regent's Bridge, which is nearly finished, will make a grand 
entrance to the town. We walked on the Calton Hill, and 
admired the new walks. There are a greater number of strik- 
ing views from different points of this town than any place 
I ever saw in nature, or painting. The new prison is built 
with great spirit, and from the bridge forms a good support 
to the Nelson monument. 

August 27. — We dined at Mr. Mason's.' He told us 
that a few days before, Sir H. Davy had given him an 
account of an artificial island formed by a Cornish miner in 
the sea, to get at a mine (of either lead or copper), which 
was truly wonderful. Mr. Mason, speaking of the Crown 
Church at Edinburgh,* told us that the pinnacles of Gothic 
architecture are not mere ornament, but indispensable, for 
unless an arch is loaded, it flies at the top, its first tendency 
being to fly at the bottom. This of course it cannot do in 
ground arches, but in the arches of the Crown it was neces- 
sary to add those ornaments, which I think disfigure it 
much, and make the Crown of Edinburgh much inferior to 
that of Newcastle. The next disposition is to fly laterally 
when secured at top and bottom : an additional weight there- 
fore is added to the centre. In the Roman semicircular 
arch the shape was perpendicular. The Grecians had none, 
which is very extraordinary. 

August 28. — We had engaged places in the Dundee coach, 
and set off early. Leaving Kinross, we came to a most beau- 
tiful glen, called Glen Parg, well wooded, and with a small 
river passing through it, which tumbled over the rocks the 
whole way. We could get no horses at Dundee, and were 
obliged to sleep there. I walked to the top of Dundee Law, 
where there seems to have been an old fortification, perhaps 
Pictish. We travelled over the Siedlaw Hills : the rock was 
whin" chiefly. 

September I. — Kinnordy. I walked up towards Glen 
Prosen ; the banks of the Prosen consist of whin wherever 
they are rocky; took several PhalwncB. The rocky glen 

' Laing Mason, of Lindertis, Forfarshire. " St. Giles's Church. 

' Whinstone, a Scotch provincial term for greenstone and other hard trap 


formed by the Carrity is through whin. Took P. napi and 
polychloros; Sylpha atrata, and a new one, S. stercolarius, 
fimelarius, and several Phalwnw. Afterwards I examined 
the Kirriemuir quarry, an enormous rock of red sandstone, 
with a little terra ponderosa or sulphate of Barytes in it. 
We found this same earth afterwards in greater plenty 
in Mr. Mason's quarry at Reedie. 

September 3. — We called at Cortachie and saw Lord 
Airlie. I rode to Forfar and examined the slate quarries. 
They told me they sometimes found in the slates the impres- 
sions of planis and animals, but they showed me no satis- 
factory specimens. I then rode four miles farther on the 
old Brechin road, to some slate quarries, where I obtained 
some crystallised sulphate of Barytes, if I am right in sup- 
posing it to be such. I have not seen the terra ponderosa 
in sandstone, whin, and slate. The vein of it in the quarry 
two miles from Forfar, on the Dundee road, is very con- 

September 6. — Rode to Finhaven over the bridge of 
Shielhill, through Tannadice. At the foot of the castle 
hill is the old ruin of the castle; at the summit a large 
vitrified fort, length 160 yards, breadth 40, as near as I 
could measure by stepping ; height of mound or wall, 10 
feet. The western side of the hill is a considerably lower 
level, and at this part there is an excavation 30 feet deep or 

Teip to Stappa. 

September 14, 1817. — Set out on a tour to Staffa with Sir 
James Ramsay and Corbett (of Christ Church, Oxford) . Passed 
through Blairgowrie, and following the Tay through Athol, 
we arrived at Aberfeldy, and saw the Falls of Moness in aU 
their beauty : the accompanying wood and enormous cliff 
are only surpassed by the faU itself. Saw Schiehallion in 
the distance. Slept at Kenmore. 

September 15.— Rode by the side of Loch Tay. We stopped 
at KUlin, the town on the western end of Loch Tay, where 
the rivers Dochart and Lochy, uniting, form the loch. Lord 
Breadalbane's grounds occupy both sides of the lake : they 

l8i7. TRIP TO STAFFA. 49 

are well wooded — oak, birch, larch, hazel, alder, and ash. 
Ben Lawers we could hardly see for the mist. Visited the 
Castle of Finlarig, which our learned host, a Cameron, in- 
formed us signified etymologically Larig the abode, Pin of 
Fingal, and Killin itself was Kill the churchyard or burying- 
ground, In of Fin or Fingal. I was surprised to find that 
the people here spoke English so infinitely better than those 
in Angus, but they told me it was taught them at school as 
Latin, was, Erse being so exclusively their native tongue. 
They showed us the grave of Eingal, and MacNab's burying- 
ground, with the Dochart roaring around us. 

September 17. — We set off for Tyndrum, through Glen 
Dochart, and after sleeping at Dalmally we proceeded along 
Loch Awe, passing under Cruachan. After this, we had the 
finest mountain view I had ever seen. On our right was Ben 
Cruachan, some way off Ben Lawers, and the prospect ter- 
minated by a fine conical hill. After riding past Bonaw we 
saw a monument to Lord Nelson, which a person might feel 
more proud of than of all the columns and pillars erected 
to his memory by committees of counties and towns. An 
immense mass of unhewn granite, of a beautiful red colour, 
has been erected by the Lorn furnace-workers, the people 
employed in the iron-works. They found it in the valley, 
and have brought it to a small hill, from the summit of 
which it forms a conspicuous object. It is about twelve feet 
high. The country from thence to Oban is very singular. 
You pass by high cliffs of whin, rising suddenly here and 
there, yet you have never to mount any, but seem going 
through the cracks in a torrent of lava. One view from 
here of Cruachan with a double peak was very fine. We 
arrived at Oban by the middle of the day, and engaged a 
small cutter. We passed Kerrera and came near Lismore. 
The next morning we came into Aros Bay, the hills of Mull 
on the west, and the Morven on the east. Aros is a collec- 
tion of two or three small houses and the ruins of an old 
castle. We landed and walked to the head of Loch-na-Kael, 
took a boat there, and sailed down Loch-na-Kael with a 
prosperous wind, and had a fine view of Ulva, with its 
ranges of basaltic steps, like Salisbury Crags, Edinburgh. 
I believe we counted thirteen. We arrived at Staffa in the 

YOL. I. E 

50 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ii. 

evening, and tlie wind being nortlierly we were able to enter 
the cave, with the width of which I was much disappointed. 
When the boat was in they could nearly touch each side at 
once with their oars. The height is magnificent, and two or 
three broken lines of columns at the bottom on each side 
form a superb base to the pillars. The roof, hung with the 
broken heads of pillars, is likewise grand. 

There was a slight agitation and swell of the sea, which 
prevented us from going in very far. The wave which entered 
sucked us in, and the boat sunk at the same time several 
feet. We then heard the wave creeping up towards the end 
of the cave, till it struck against it, we in the mean time re- 
maining motionless : then the wave returned, and gently 
heaved us up, and carried us to the mouth of the cave. 
This was very fine, but after two or three trials we rowed 
away for fear of an accident. The pillars in the Boats' 
Cave are higher and finer than those in Fingal's, but a 
striking part of the entrance of Fingal's is that the pillars 
are ranged in a fine rounded swell on each side, instead of 
being straight in the manner of a wall. With the beauty 
of Buachaille and the clin we were astonished and delighted. 
The Clam-shell Cave is also curious. 

Instead of returning to the inn at Ulva, which we had 
intended, we went on to Icolmkill that evening, as Mr. 
McDonald of TJlva, to whom we had letters of introduction, 
was not at home. It was late when we landed at lona, but 
the landlord of the inn and his family had not returned 
from shearing. We were obliged therefore to go into ' But,' 
in as miserable a specimen of a shieling as can be imagined, 
a conical hut open at top, with a large fire on the ground in 
the middle of the fioor. Round the walls above us were 
immense stores of dried fish, tied two by two, and slung 
over a rope : it appeared a winter's store. The whole was 
dirty in the extreme, and lacrymoso non sinefumo, as may be 
supposed. When the landlord returned, and we were intro- 
duced into ' Ben,' we were but little better ofi", the smoke, 
our great enemy, being as dreadful as ever. 

To avoid this, and relieve my eyes, I walked out. It was 
moonlight, and the finest aurora-borealis I ever witnessed 
was lighting up the east. The ruins of the abbey appeared 

l8i7. ION A. 51 

to great advantage, but they are but poor after all. Sir 
James got a bed at the schoolmaster's, and Corbett and I 
slept at the inn. 

Septemher 20. — The children crowded round us in the 
morning, with Icolmkill pebbles to sell. They are Serpen- 
tine, which thej find on the beach, very unctuous to the 
touch, and yellow. 

The schoolmaster, McLean, showed us the antiquities, 
and told us the customary story of the interment of St. Oran, 
&e., and pointed out the tombs of the kings of Ireland, 
Norway, and Scotland. There were two fine crosses stand- 
ing seven or eight feet high, of which there were once 360 
standing. They were all thrown down at the time of the Re- 
formation. The Coltsfoot' flourishes most magnificently over 
the tombs, and hides much of the rubbish and treasures. 
The ruins of the church look hke so many gable ends of 
houses, set up rank and file, and one of the inducements to 
go directly from Stafi'a to lona might be to contemplate the 
triumph of the architecture of nature over that of art. 

McLean informed us that the inhabitants now on the 
island, who amount to 450, only hear divine service four 
times a year, and not that often, as the roughness of the 
weather sometimes prevents the Presbyterian clergyman 
from coming over from Mull, for lona belongs to a parish 
in Mull. He preaches in the open air, and in English, which 
part only of his congregation understand. What a change 
from the state of the island when the monks had service 
morning and evening. The schoolmaster, it is true, reads 
prayers every Sunday, but, as he confesses, no one scarcely 
but his scholars will attend. He teaches them English only, 
which they speak fairly. The islanders seem to esist by 
their fishing. Their only traffic is kelp, and a few black 
cattle which they rear. We saw some black cattle embarked, 
which was a very amusing and ridiculous scene. A rope is 
tied to the horn of the animal, and he is driven to the sea- 
side. At first they make violent resistance, and the driver, 
while they are kicking and prancing, yields with the rope, 
and lets them exhaust themselves, as an angler does a large 
trout. They show great dexterity in always keeping in front 

* TusHlago farfara. • 
E 2 

62 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ii. 

of tlie animal. Tlie beasts are tlien pulled into the sea, into 
which both men and women walk with as much unconcern 
as if they were by nature amphibious. The fore-legs of the 
animal are first lifted up by one person on each side, and 
then the hind. We saw one lassie seize hold of the tail, and 
help to lift him in that way. 

About half-past nine, after having paid an enormous bill 
for our bad entertainment, we set off in our Aros boat, 
determining to get back to Oban by passing along the south 
of Mull. The immense multitude of small granite rocks 
which we passed through was very entertaining. This 
south-west end of Mull is a coast of red granite, and in 
McLeod's Bay it takes a decided columnar shape, the pillars 
being four-sided, whereas most of those at Staffa which we 
examined were pentagonal, none square. There is a large 
creek in this bay, with the pillars on each side about 150 
feet high, and broken into regular steps like the basalt. 
Between these two cliffs, which face one another, and are 
only divided by a large rent two or three feet wide, a large 
rocky mass is supported. We sailed on with a good breeze, 
the granite structure in the coast still continuing. The small 
islands were like so many Buachailles, the coast like so 
many churchyards, pillars standing up with their square 
sides, like tombs. The last point to which this reached, 
they called Ardtoruish, about four miles from McLeod's 


To Chaeles Ltell Esq., Kinnoedt, Foepaeshiee. 

Exeter College: October 21, 1817. 
My dear Father,— I find so few of my old acquaintance 
come up this term, that I could almost fancy it a new 
college. It will be less difBcult, therefore, to acquire what 
Paley so strongly recommended to his pupils, ' courage to be 
alone.' Eamsay tells me there are four new noblemen and 
eight gentlemen commoners this term. We have only one 
of the latter — the son of a man of consequence in Ceylon. 

1 8 17. RETURN TO OXFORD. 53 

He is a, copper-coloured black, under the care of Lord 
Bathurst. Our Government educated his elder brother, as 
they are doing this one, first under a private tutor, then at 
Trinity Hall, Cambridge. They say, but I believe without any 
foundation, that he is a nephew of the King of Candy. His 
manner is very pleasant, a.nd he talks admirable English. 
He is to take orders, they think at present, and then follow 
his brother to his native country. His name is M. de 

I saw Dr. Arnold in London, since which I received an 
unexpected letter from him at Portsmouth, chiefly to inform 
me that he had just discovered a paper written in the last 
number of the ' Geological Transactions ' by Buckland, on 
flints owing their formation and shapes entirely to animals. 
The pear-shaped flints we saw with Mr. Taylor at Norwich 
are touched upon in it. Now that the time of parting is 
come, the Doctor seems almost to shrink from the thankless 
and dangerous task before him.' 

Dr. Williams tells me that Buckland will not be in 
Oxford till late this term, if at all. He has not been on the 
Continent this long vacation, but making several 'home 

When I was at Muddiford ' the other day, I found the 
cliff composed of what I think must be decidedly the green 
sand of Werner, which you remember Phillips says always 
accompanies chalk. I found at Bullock's Mona Marble 
Exhibition in Town some fine specimens of Serpentine among 
the unpolished rocks, some of which are precisely the rock 
at the Bridge of Gortachie, with that green, shining, glu- 
tinous matter on the outside, but none of course with the 
porcelain appearance, which must be owing I think to heat. 
I spent the morning at the British Museum, studying the 
collection of minerals, a very great and splendid treat. 

I received a letter this morning from Mr. Turner, sending 
me an etching of Captain Manby and Talma, much good 
advice, and an invitation to spend my Christmas vacation at 
Yarmouth. I seem to have been at Yarmouth a day or two 
ago, so very near did we pass within the roads. The sail 

» Going with Sir Stamford Raffles to Sumatra. 
■ A bathing-place near Christchurch, Hants. 

54 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ii. 

tip tlie Thames, at the rate of twelve knots an hour, with 
generally 300 vessels near us, moving rapidly in all direc- 
tions, was delightful beyond description. A side wind shows 
oif every vessel in the most picturesque view. 

One side on high, one buried in the deep, 
Her deck \o meet the ocean, slanting steep, 
Beneath the swelling sails her mast bowed low, 
She mocks in speed the following breakers flow. 
Back from her bows the broken waves are cast, 
And far behind her in the moving waste 
A level track declares her well-sped way, 
Where swiftly circling sports the eddying spray. 

I admire my mother's picture ^ very much — a strong and 
pleasing likeness, nor should I have discovered its unfinished 
state at the usual distance of viewing it. Believe me, my 
dear father, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltbll. 

To Chaeles Ltell, Esq., Kinnoedt, Foefakshike. 

Exeter College: November 11, 1817. 

My dear Father, — I have been sitting in the schools for 
seven hours this morning, a ceremony which I must undergo 
again before I am qualified to go up myself. The day was 
almost entirely taken up with Baring,^ a gentleman 
commoner of Christ Church, son of an East India Baring of 
immense property. His examination will last perhaps three 
days more, as he goes up for a first class in hoth. He went 
on to-day in a splendid manner. He is a young genteel- 
looking man, and has mixed with society in Christ Church 
pretty freely since his residence. He was examined to-day in 
Aristotle's £'//wcs, Rhetoric, Tliucydides, Herodotus, Polybius, 
Xenophon, Livy, Euripides, Sophocles, JEschylus, Virgil, 
besides Divinity. The examinations are expected to be un- 
usually severe, and it is feared there will be many before the 
end of the term. 

I had a letter this morning from Guilding, from the island 

of St. Vincent, favoured by the Hon. W. Edwards, H.M.S. 

' Hydra,' now at Portsmouth, who was to have delivered it to 

2 By Thomas Phillips, E.A. 

' Son of Sir Francis Baring, and afterwards first Lord Northbrook. 

j8i7. lines on staff a. 65 

me here, and been lionised by me over Oxford, but is detained 
from doing so at present. Guilding bad procured then 
(17 September) 700 entirely new species of insects, one sphinx 
measuring eight inches from tip to tip of the wing, which 
he means to present to the Linnsean Society, with other 
rarities. He has got duplicates of most things for me, and is 
to send them shortly. He has also collected birds, fishes, 
&c. &c. 

I have also received another letter from Dr. Arnold. They 
encountered a dreadful storm in the Downs, and lost their 
best bow anchor, put back into the Thames again, and after- 
wards were driven back by another gale off Scilly to port. 
He wrote from Kelston in Cornwall. He was making a tour, 
with Sir Stamford and Lady EafiSes, through the mining 
district, and gives a wonderful account of that interesting- 

Oxford is of all places the most barren of news. Rather 
than send an empty letter so far, I will give you the only 
verses I have found time to make lately, which are but the 
beginning of a subject. 

Lines on Stafpa. 

Ere yet the glowing Lards of Eastern tale 
Had peopled fairy worlds with beings bright, 
Roamed o'er the palace and enchanted vale. 
And dreamed a heavenly vision of Delight, 
And told of realms rich with unborrowed Light, 
On which the needless sunbeams never fell, 
Whose noon of splendour never knew the night, 
lUumed by lamps that burnt unquenchable, 
And dazzling hung in air, upheld by magic spell : 

All these and more, with which their wizard strain 
Led far away deluded Fancy's child, 
Till he would turn on Nature's self again, 
And deem her charms a desert bleak and wild, 
' Himself from visionary heavens exiled ; 
While yet unheard that strain, the Time had been 
When Nature's hand as if in sport she toiled 
To build e'en more than could the thoughts of man, 
Amid the Ocean vast, h ad framed a fairy scene. 

For she had found a lone and rocky isle, 
And at her voice a thousand pillars tall, 


She tade uprising lift the massy pile, 
And far within she carved a stately hall 
Against whose sides the entering waves did fall, 
"While to their roar the roof gave echo loud — 
And she h ad hid each column's pedestal 
Beneath the depths unseen of Ocean's flood. 
While towered their heads on high, amid the passing cloud. 

And she had fashioned with an artist's pride 
The dark hlack rock where himg the sparkling foam, 
And many a step along its sculptured side 
Had hewn, as if to tempt some foot to roam, 
Some favoured foot of Mortal yet to come. 
She bade no shapes of Terror there abound, 
That piUar'd hall no guardian dragon's home. 
But Ocean rolled his mighty waves around. 
To guard ftom vulgar gaze her fair enchanted ground. 

Whatever you may think of the poetry, you will agree 
with me in regretting that Werner should have died without 
the knowledge of this geological discovery concerning the 
origin and formation of basalt. 

I am perfectly well, and believe me, my dear father, 
your affectionate son, 

■ Charles Ltell. 



JUNE, JULY, 1818. 



[In 1818 he made a tour in France, Switzerland, and Italy, with 
his father, mother, and two eldest sist-ers, and kept a close journal, 
from which the following extracts are made.] 

June 8. — We left Dover and embarked on board the ' King 
George ' packet, and in three hours were landed on the pier 
at Calais, and the carriage and luggage having been taken 
to the custom-house, we went to L'Hdtel Dessin. In the 
morning I mounted the tower, where all the town and sea 
can be viewed, and then went into the church, the first 
Catholic one I had ever seen. A painting attributed to 
Vandyke was shown me, with many others, and images of 
saints. It was twelve before we left Calais. Four miser- 
able nags were fixed to the carriage, tied on with tackle 
which any Hampshire wood-stealer would have been ashamed 
to see round his Forest colts. But the appearance was a 
small part of the evil : every two miles something (as might 
have been expected) went wrong. The strong fortifications 
round each town are of course one of the most striking 
novelties to an Englishman. Those of Boulogne presented 
a very different appearance from Calais, the town being 

58 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. hi. 

divided into la haute et hasse ville, the former only being 
enclosed by walls, and commanding the lower part. English 
inscriptions over almost every shop pointed out how many 
of our countrymen were residing there. The different 
chateaux which we passed between Boulogne and Samer were 
inhabited chiefly by English officers, and when we arrived at 
the inn at Samer, we heard a British bugle sound, to rest 
the horse- artUlery, who are quartered there. It seemed that 
the English had taken quiet possession, both military and 
civil, of this part of the country. 

June 10. — Early in the morning I was roused by the 
drums and fifes of 400 French soldiers, which passed through 
Samer on their way from Montreuil to Boulogne. They 
looked much out of feather, partly from their march perhaps, 
but partly, as I understood from our soldiers, from their 
national dirtiness. The scene was much changed when the 
British horse-artiUery were drawn up in the market-place. 
There were 170 men of these, most of whom wore Waterloo 
medals, all admirably mounted. Six cannons, each drawn by 
eight fine horses, and six ammunition waggons, each with 
four horses, added much to the spectacle. When we had 
climbed the hill out of Samer, on our way to Montreuil, it 
was a beautiful sight to look back upon them following in 
separate corps, each detached body having with them one 
cannon and one ammunition waggon. They were coming 
up from the town to exercise near the wood of Montreuil. 
Going on through a flat chalk country, we passed through 
the Forest of Crecy, and came on to Abbeville, and having 
dined, we proceeded to Amiens, and were six hours in going 
five posts. Clermont was the next fortified town through 
which we passed. The citadel is on a very commanding rise. 
Here for the first time we left the chalk (?), which we had 
been on every step from Calais, and which we entered again 
before we got to Paris. The country changed with the soil, 
but not much for the better (with regard to scenery). We 
slept at ChantiUy. 

June 12. — In the morning we visited the magnificent 
stables which belonged to the Palace of the Prince of Conde, 
destroyed at the Revolution. The exterior is in grand style 
and good taste. The apartment in the inside which includes 

I8i8. PARIS. 59 

the length of the whole building is 620 feet long, and accom- 
modated for some months 320 horses of the British cavalry, 
when part of our army were quartered at Chantilly lately. 
As we drew near Paris small towns began to thicken, as in 
the neighbourhood of the British capital. St. Denis was the 
principal place. Here we visited the church, which is very 
fine. The choir contracts at the east end, much in the style 
of Canterbury. The heights of Montmartre soon made their 
appearance after we left St. Denis, and vineyards became 
common. The road was a straight avenue, with a row of 
trees on each side all the way, till we entered Paris by the 
Rue de Clichy, then down Rue Mont Blanc and Eue de la 
Paix, into the Place Vendome. Here we saw the splendid 
column made of the melted cannons taken by Napoleon in 
his different victories. 

We dined at the Hotel Meurice, Rue St. Honore, and in 
the evening drove to Tivoli, a kind of Vauxhall. It was 
not a full night for these, gardens. We tried by way of 
experiment les montagnes, and the whole party descended in 
these sledges. 

Sunday, June 14. — After service at the English chapel, 
went to the Tuileries. After Mass, Louis came out on the 
balcony, and was received with what I thought a very cold 
Vive le Roi ! We dined at Verey's, the restaurateur in the 
Palais Royal. The views from his windows of the square 
filled with people, the avenues of trees, and the flowers, all 
kept in the highest order, and the fountain in the middle, 
formed a cheerful scene. 

In the evening we drove up the Champs Blysees to the 
Beaujean Pran5ais, something like the gardens of Tivoli, 
which we had before seen, but on a larger scale, and more 
crowded, Sunday being the gala-day in France. Different 
groups were spread over the gardens, some round a band of 
music, in another place round a conjuror ; in another, shoot- 
ing at a mask with an air-gun was the amusement. Above 
all towered the Montagnes Pran9ais, down which I descended 
in a car. A balloon went up from these gardens, and the 
evening closed with fireworks. 

June 15. — We visited the Jardin des Plantes, which 
occupied the greatest part of the morning. The Museum, 


particularly the room of fossil remains, amused me greatly. 
I lamented not being able to hear Cuvier lecture, as he is 
now in England. The living animals are allowed each a fine 
space to range in. Martin the bear would not be persuaded 
to climb his pole. Some time since he had a fall, by which 
he broke his ankle, or some joint, a sad misfortune to many 
Englishmen, to whom the sights of Paris must now appear 
comparatively a blank. We next visited the church of St. 
Germain, the screen of which is worthy of notice. Capt. 
Ogilvy ' called on us early, and informed us that the water- 
works of Versailles were to play that day in honour of the 
Duke of Wellington, and invited us to dine with him at his 
house in St. Germains, the day after. We lost no time in 
profiting by this intelligence, but set off in a ealeche. The 
garden view of the Palace of Versailles is very grand, but it 
appears to me too large even for a palace, at least in any 
situation besides the capital. Many thousand people were 
collected round the large basin of the Dragon, where the 
Duke of Wellington was to pass. He was dining with some 
French marshals at the Trianon. At their arrival, with a 
small body of guards, forty-two immense columns of water 
rose out of the basin, the great Dragon, with all the dolphins, 
&c. &c., began to spout out streams of water, and the effect 
was beautiful. 

June 17.— We departed in good time to pay Capt. Ogilvy 
a visit at St. Germains. The distant view of Paris from this 
road is interesting. As Malmaison was on this road, we 
stopped to see it. The house might be that of any country 
gentleman in England, but derives its interest from having 
been so long the residence of Josephine, and so often that of 
Napoleon. There are no pictures of value there, but the 
great gallery is a fine room, and the full-length picture of 
Josephine is said to be a good likeness. But I was most 
delighted in seeing the garden and grounds laid out in the 
best taste, for though Versailles is a magnificent specimen of 
art, I confess the sight of winding walks, instead of straight 
alleys; trees spreading their branches naturally around, 
instead of being cut and tortured into shape; rose-bushes 
growing on the ground, instead of being grafted, according 
' The Hon. William Ogilvy, brother of Lorrl Airhe. 

i8i8. MALMAISON. 61 

to the French fashion, and looking like flowers bound on 
the top of a hop-pole, gave me more of the real charm of a 
garden than I thought I was ever to experience in France. 
I understand that the Trianon at Versailles is laid out in 
this manner, and that the French look upon both as singular 
curiosities, and have taste enough to admire them. A tulip 
tree at Malmaison was the first I ever saw in flower. That 
Englishman who, when he first beheld this tree, and mar- 
velled at the industry of the gardener who had clipped every 
leaf so evenly with his scissors, would meet in France with 
enough real instances of labour employed in perverting 
nature. We saw some very vivid lightning on our return to 
Paris, but escaped a storm which fell round us. A few 
glowworms on the bank were the first I had seeti in France. 

June, 18. — In the morning we paid a visit to the Louvre, 
where, besides the paintings, we had a view of Louis XVIII. 
setting out for St. Cloud, from the Tuileries. We saw 
him well, as we looked down into his open carriage, which 
was drawn by eight horses. We went in the evening to the 
Opera Comique. This was the first theatre we had been at 
in Paris, for besides the heat of the weather. Talma and all 
the first-rate actors and actresses were away from Paris, at 
different country theatres. I saw little to admire in the 
house, and was not Frenchman enough to follow the very 
rapid pronunciation of French comedians ; but the orchestra 
was good, and music is an universal language. It was the 
composition of Gretry. 

June, 19. — We went to the Jardin des Plantes, to see the 
collection of comparative anatomy, which is very beautiful, 
and might tempt anyone who had the opportunity of stay- 
ing in Paris to take up ardently the study of anatomy. 
There are a vast number of exquisite models, coloured to the 
life descriptive of the anatomical structure of the human 
frame ; besides skeletons of a vast number of quadrupeds, 
birds, fishes, serpents, &c. ho,. I afterwards visited the 
Panorama of London iu the Boulevard des Capucins. We 
dined at Beauvilliard's, a restaurateur in the Eue de Richelieu, 
and afterwards went to the Theatre Fran9ais and heard 
Corneille's play of 'Le Menteur.' I followed the actors 
with the help of a book well enough to enjoy it, and laugh 


heartily, but often while I was cutting a leaf with my knife, 
and turning over, I found to my astonishment that they had 
got down half the next page. ' Le Menteur ' is more of a 
farce than a comedy. 

June 20—1 went in the morning to the Bibliotheque du 
Eoi, and called for the first volume of Cuvier's work on Fossil 
Remains, which was immediately brought, as was a French 
Dictionary and map of France which I asked for. They 
seem even to take pleasure in waiting on you. The library 
is of great use, there were six or seven tables full of students, 
most of them writing. How different in every respect to 
the Bodleian at Oxford ! except in books, in the number of 
which I suppose it cannot surpass the Bodleian. I read 
Cuvier's paper on the Geology of the Country round Paris 
(the chalk basin of Paris'). 

June 21. — We went this morning to hear Mass performed 
in Notre Dame. Service was going on in several different 
parts of the cathedral at the same time. I could neither 
understand a word they said, nor admire a word they sung ; 
there was no music in the chant, and it was unaccompanied 
by the organ. A single instrument, a bass-viol, I believe, 
now and then joined its bass notes with their voices. We 
next visited the model of the colossal elephant which is to 
be erected over the canal near the ruins of the ancient Bastille. 
The idea of this is said to have been entirely Napoleon's. 
Water is to be conveyed into the animal, and it is to spout 
it out at its trunk, and thus serve as a gigantic fountain. 
The taste of this is much disputed, and what the effect will 
be when the whole is of bronze, and when it stands as a 
public monument in this city, I will not pretend to antici- 
pate ; but the idea is unquestionably no mean one, and the 
proportions of the model are so good, though above seventy 
feet in height, that the front view is wonderfully striking. 
It is done over with plaster of Paris, and has quite the ap- 
pearance of stone. 

We then went to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise, a large 
burying-ground in the same quarter. It would be well worth 
visiting were it only for the extensive view of Paris which 
presents itself from this rise. But it has suflBcient interest 
in itself. The immense number of tombstones and monu- 


ments, the order and neatness of the walks, and of each 
little plot round the sepulchres, which are filled with beauti- 
ful, and sometimes valuable plants. It would seem here 
that the cypresses were not — as Byron says, — 

The only constant moui'ners of the dead, 

for we observed wreaths of flowers lately placed on the 
tombs of some who had departed a long time since. We 
went in the evening to Les Jardins Ruggieri, which I 
thought the best of the kind we had visited. But its being 
Sunday probably added much to the crowds which were 
there. Sunday in Paris is celebrated like most of the old 
Roman sacred rites, by dancing as well as prayer. Le, saut 
de Niagara is the most conspicuous object in this garden. 
It is like the other montagnes, except that before the car 
descends it is suspended in the air on a kind of drawbridge, 
which, like the cross board of a see- saw, is balanced on its 
centre and loose at the extremities. The declivity down 
which you are shot is infinitely more rapid than any other 
in Paris, but very delightful, not only to Parisians. Some 
splendid fireworks finished the evening. 

June 22. — Went to the Jardin des Plantes, where I ao-ain 
looked over Cuvier's lecture-room, filled with fossil remains, 
among which are three glorious relics of a former world, 
which have added several new genera to the Mammalia. 
We also walked over the greenhouses, and admired many 
fine tropical plants. We had a great treat afterwards at 
the Opera. ' Le Devin de Village ' was first performed, in- 
teresting not only from its real merit, but as a literary cu- 
riosity, since both the poetry and the music are by Rousseau. 
' Le Rossignol ' followed, and then the ' Carnival of Venice,' a 
pantomime, both excellent in their way. The whole was got 
up with great splendour and magnificence, but a filthy 
curtain which was let down between the acts could not fail 
to remind us of that total want of convenance which one 
has so often heard remarked as characteristic of the French. 
It was like the filthy Stygian pool which flows perpetually 
down their finest streets. 

June 23. — I spent all the day in the Louvre, and became 
more than ever convinced of how much there is there worthy 



of admiring and studying for as many weeks as we had 
hours to give to it, 

June 24. — We drove to the Royal Observatoi-y, and then 
to the Church or Abhey of Val de Grace, but on entering 
were astonished to find, instead of the signs of a consecrated 
place, nothing but enormous piles of blankets and sacks of 
straw and other things. By a remarkable conversion, it has 
now become a military storehouse and hospital. I got 
back to the Louvre in time to spend one hour there before 
its closing. There I met Sir James Ramsay and Mr. Mal- 
colm, two Oxford friends, who had just arrived from London. 
In the evening we attended the Opera. The piece was ' Les 
Danaides.' Nothing very striking in the music, still less in 
the poetry, but all good, and the scenes magnificent, parti- 
cularly the concluding one of the infernal regions. There 
were a great number of soldiers about the door, as there are 
wherever you turn in Paris. They keep excellent order, but 
bayonets are not very pleasant things to see in a crowd, and 
the very authoritative tone in which they order about gentle- 
men's servants and coachmen cannot at all suit an English- 
man's feelings. 

June 25. — I spent again nearly all the morning in the 
statue gallery of the Louvre. I was particularly struck with 
the Demosthenes on the right as you enter the Salle de la 
Paix, with Venus Genetrix, and many of the Roman empe- 
rors, Trajan, Augustus, and a bust of Caracalla. I was 
much delighted also with Jason stooping to untie his sandal, 
but more than all with the Fighting Gladiator. 

June 26. — We left Paris on our way to Switzerland, in 
time to reach Fontainebleau, where we slept. In the Forest 
of Fontainebleau a (limestone) rock bursts up in huge 
masses through the soil, and presents a very singular appear- 
ance, not in any way in character with so tame and flat a 
country. The timber here is magnificent, of many species 
and great extent. 

June 27. — The exterior of the Palace of Fontainebleau 
is perfectly inelegant, not to say frightful, and the gardens, 
if intended for the French taste, very inferior to those of the 
Tuileries or Versailles, and if meant for English, they are 
nothing compared to Malmaison. In fact they seem an 


absurd attempt to combine these two contrary styles. 
Garden grounds in Prance openly profess to display the 
skill and perfection of art, and have certainly the advantage 
of show and splendour ; but in England they are laid out on 
the principle of Ariis esse celare Artem, and to make these 
two opposites meet in the smallest degree is evidently im- 
practicable. The rooms in the Palace are many of them 
fine, and the furniture princely. And though the apart- 
ments in which the Pope was confined by Napoleon are in 
themselves nothing peculiar, and still less the small table on 
which Buonaparte signed his abdication before going to Elba, 
yet they all serve to remind us of events of History. 

June 28. — Through our whole journey from Auxerre to 
Maison-Neuve there was no single point of interesting 
scenery, and my only pleasure was from the few passing 
remarks I was able to make on the geology of this country. 
It is chalk as far as St. Bris, between which and Ver- 
manton it becomes more like a white limestone, and after 
leaving Vermanton I observed stratification unlike chalk. 
At Lucy le Bois it remained much the same, and between 
this place and Avallon we came upon a blue limestone 
abounding in Ammonites, some as large as the crown of my 
hat, som.e considerably larger, with many gryphites and other 
shells, continuing to Rouvray. Here the fields are enclosed 
with hedges, and the country exactly resembled some parts of 
England. I was astonished at the small village of Rouvray 
to see the streets paved and the houses built of granite. On 
our way to Maison-Neuve we found the road cut deep 
through a red porphyritic granite. Yet there was no change 
in the scenery, as is usually the case upon entering a portion 
of primitive country. 

June 29. — Upon leaving Maison-Neuve we came again 
upon the limestone we had left at Rouvray, containing 
Cornu Ammonis and other fossils in abundance. We had to 
mount a steep limestone hill on leaving Vitteaux. Every here 
and there were large stones of the colour of ruddle,^ con- 
taining apparently the same fossils as the limestone. At, 
Dijon we slept, the largest place we had been in since 

2 Or reddle, red iron-chalk. 
VOL. I. ^ 

66 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, in 

We passed through Dole, a pretty town, between this 
and Van dray. I saw gravel strewed in large hillocks over the 
plain, as it is in Scotland. In some small villages near 
Poligny we were surprised at the change of the buildings, 
for some were roofed with wooden tiles, and the roofs of 
some projected a great way over the side of the house, in the 
Swiss style. 

July 1. — The Jura chain rises abruptly from the flat plain. 
Poligny lies under the mountains, being built on the slope. 
We had to thank Napoleon for the noble road which carried 
us by an easy ascent up the precipitous rise of these moun- 
tains. Large limestone cliffs presented themselves, the 
stratification very horizontal. On looking down from the 
height, we had an extensive view of the plains of Burgundy 
which we had left. The limestone in the Jura I conclude is 
of a different age from what we passed through before Dijon, 
for the latter abounded in organic remains, whereas I could 
not discover one fossil in the Jura. By the roadside I picked 
up many beautiful petrifications, which must be forming 
daily here, where the water is charged plentifully with Ume. 
The minute veins in the leaves of many of these petrifactions 
were preserved with exactness. I was surprised to see one 
limestone cliff, which had been cut through to make the road, 
spotted with dark flints, something like moderate-sized 
chalk flints, but not in layers as in chalk. Between Cham- 
pagnole and Maison-Neuve the steep rocks covered with 
fir-trees reminded us of Dunkeld, and the situation of 
Morez, where we slept, was at the bottom of a deep valley, 
where the cliffs and steepness of the rocks on each side, and 
the large bed of a river at the bottom, formed a romantic 

From Morez we ascended to Les Eousses, the frontier town. 
Here our passports, &c., were examined. We had now 
climbed to nearly the summit of the Jura. La Dole was full 
in view, a mountain that reaches more than 5,000 feet above 
the level of the sea. It was not many hundred feet above 
us. On this, and on a few other mountains, small patches 
of snow were pointed out to us. Now that we had gained 
the height of the loftiest mountains in Scotland, we could 
not help reflecting with astonishment on the contrast 

i8i8. CH AMOUNT. 67 

between the Grampians and the Jura. Instead of a cold 
piercing wind, we were here glad of an umbrella to screen 
ns from the heat of the sun ; instead of a desolate waste, the 
dwelling of moor-game alone, here were towns and houses 
scattered about, and cattle ; in place of a boundless expanse 
of heath, here were tall forests of fir, with the Alpine rose 
and a thousand beautiful flowers. The Veratrum in particular, 
and Gentiana lutea, with their broad leaves, covered the 
ground in some parts, and gave it, to me, the appearance of 
garden ground. In descending the Jura from Lavatay to 
Gex, we had a most magnificent view of a vast extent of 
country. Below us the Lake of Geneva and the Pays de 
Vaud, before us the Savoy Alps towering up to the clouds, 
and, in spite of their great distance and the height on which 
we stood, extended in a long line before us like an army of 
giants, Mont Blanc rising high above all in the middle as 
their chief. We saw the Dent de Midi to the left, shooting 
up his two remarkable peaks, with many more of extra- 
ordinary and picturesque forms. We went to Secheron, 
and visited Geneva, about half a mile from our hotel. I was 
rather disappointed in the town itself, but the appearance of 
the people I thought a great improvement on France. The large 
spreading straw bonnets are very becoming to the women, 
and a pretty girl seems not such a rarity in a shop here as in 
Paris. We crossed a bridge over the Rhone, which flows 
through the town, coming out of the lake with a rapid 
current, of a most peculiar deep blue colour. We called on 
Professor De Candolle, but found he was gone to Paris. 

July 4. — We departed from Secheron early on an ex- 
pedition to the Valley of Chamouni. Geneva we found busy 
and lively in all parts, it being market-day. A few hundred 
yards carried us out of the precincts of this republic, and 
upon entering Savoy, at the small village of Carouge, we 
underwent the farce of having our baggage examined. We 
soon passed Mont Saleve on our right, and the Voirons on 
our left, the two nearest hills to Geneva, both calcareous, as 
is the Mole, a picturesque mountain on all sides, and very 
verdant up to the top. We passed the Menoge, a small 
torrent which winds along a deep ravine, apparently the 
gorge of old of a vast body of water. Here I should have 

F 2 


expected, as in approaching tlie Primitive country in Scot- 
land, to see large micaceous boulders of tlie old rocks, but 
there were scarcely any of the kind. Whether they are buried 
in the soil, or whether the ruin of the Mole (a large part of 
which seems evidently to have been torn away) has covered 
everything. The sceuery towards Bonneville, where we 
dined, and after it, improved at every step. We had been 
following the Arve for some distance, and after passing 
through the town of Cluse, we turned with it up a deep valley, 
or rather an enormous ravine, where the rocks rose to our left 
to a very precipitous height, and quite perpendicular. Le 
Brison on the right was a very picturesque mountain. 

Le Cascade d'Arpenaz, a fall of 800 feet perpendicular, 
was looking very beautiful on our left. There was not much 
water, but the wind carried that little quite away in smoke, 
before it descended half way, so that farther down, where the 
scattered spray fell, and collected on a projecting portion of 
the cliff, a new cascade seemed to spring forth. Our ride 
was truly romantic the whole way to St. Martin, where we 
slept. Mont Blanc had been concealed by clouds the whole 
day, but this evening we enjoyed a full view of him. The 
setting sun rested on his summit long after it had ceased to 
light up the valley and neighbouring mountains. Though 
the outline from here is beautiful, I confess I was dis- 
appointed in the near resemblance which it bears to a cloud, 
for the snow naturally takes the same tints as white vapour 
from the sun. L' Aiguille de Varens, a calcareous crag 
which overhangs the village of St. Martin, is of immense 
height and very grand, especially when half buried in clouds, 
and the steep rock appearing through them, cut off from 
its base. 

July 5. — Leaving St. Martin, we wound round the Aiguille 
de Varens, the base of which mountain is partly of slate, 
partly of schist. The Cascade de Ch^ne is pretty, but the 
Chute d'Arve we saw from such a height, that it seemed only 
a river roaring over a rocky bed. The view from the Pont 
Pelissier is very delightful. Here we passed the Arve, and 
soon came in view of the glaciers. After passing the small 
Glacier of Taconay, the Glacier de Bosson, the most pictur- 
esque of all, came in view. It has advanced farther than 


any of them in a direct line across the valley, and particu- 
larly in the last three years. A fir wood on the farther side 
marks the spot to which it used to extend before that time. 
Marching on with its enormous bullc, it has trodden down 
the tallest pines with as much ease as an elephant could the 
herbage of a meadow. Some trunks still are seen projecting 
from the rock of ice, all the heads being embodied in this 
mass, which shoots out at the top into tall pyramids and 
pinnacles of ice, of beautiful shapes and of a very pure 
white, which is finely set off by a background of dark fir. 
This lower part of the glacier is urged on by an enormous 
precipice of ice above, descending from the upper parts of 
the mountain, and which increases in weight every year. 
It has been pressed on not only through the forest, but over 
some cultivated fields, which are utterly lost. The poor 
woman whose land has been thus destroyed, came to present 
us a petition signed by the minister. They have placed a 
small wooden cross at the bottom, with the intention, no 
doubt, of arresting the progress of the evil which threatens 
to overwhelm many houses immediately before it, and 
indeed all human power can do nothing else towards saving 

The Glacier de Bosson marches almost in a straight line, 
though inclining a little down the valley. There is a decli- 
vity before it, all the way to the opposite side, which I think 
it must reach in less than twenty years, even were it to 
advance at half the pace of the late three extraordinary 
winters. Should it ever do so, it must cause a hundredfold 
the calamity that has just befallen the Valley of Bagne and 
Martigny, since it would flood the valley above, by stopping 
the Arve, and then deluge it below when it broke loose. 
The mischief it has already caused, and the much greater 
evils which it threatens, must raise in every one a feeling of 
horror, in spite of the admiration excited by contemplating 
this picturesque phenomenon. When you walk over the ice 
you find the air very cold, though a burning sun was warm- 
ing the valley when we saw it, and causing the vegetation 
to flourish with luxuriance up to the very foot of the glacier. 
One of the choicest of our garden shrubs, the Ehododendron, 
was in flower there. 

70 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. hi. 

July 6. — I took a guide early in the morning, and leaving 
the inn at Chamouni, began to mount I'Aiguille de Brevent, 
a mountain wWcli rises on the opposite of the valley, and 
affords the nearest general vievr of Mont Blanc. It rises 
steeply, nearly 6,000 feet above the valley, and, as may be 
supposed, requires some labour to mount, but it well deserves 
it. Planpraz, a point about two-thirds of the way up, affords 
a grand view of the summit, and all the points of Mont 
Blanc, but at every step you ascend, he still rises, till at the 
top of the Brevent you may consider yourself raised opposite 
his middle height, the most advantageous station of course. 
My guide, Joseph Marie Coutet, I found very intelligent. 
He was the son of one of those who attended Saussure in his 
famous ascent, had travelled much as a soldier under Napo- 
leon, but was not in the Russian campaign, to which a vast 
number of the inhabitants of Chamouni were taken, and few 
ever returned. Yet Buonaparte's policy has augmented the 
population of Chamouni. By never requiring married men to 
go, many were driven to this alternative, and as we are told, 
and might have expected, many very unhappy marriages 
have been the result. We crossed some large patches of 
snow in mounting, and found the top of the mountain quite 
covered, except the highest crag, on which I sat down to eat 
my dinner. It was the height of luxury in such warm 
weather to be able to cool my wine by plunging the bottle 
in snow. The view from this point is truly magnificent. 
Mont Blanc full in front, with his four largest glaciers de- 
scending down his sides — of Bosson, Mer de Glace, Argen- 
tiere, and Tour ; the villages of Servoz and Tour at each 
extremity of the valley, and Chamouni at our feet, and the 
river Arve. Behind us rose the sn,owy summit of Buet, 
with the Aiguille de Varens, and many others, the Jura in 
the distance. 

In going down the Brevent, my guide chose out as care- 
fully the tracts of snow as he had avoided them in ascending. 
He had provided me with a pike, tipped with an iron nail, 
which he used himself. He directed me to lean back on 
this with one hand, as he did himself on his, and then lock 
my other arm firm in his. We thus slid down together with 
amazing rapidity, and precipitous places, that required half 

i8i8. MER DE GLACE. 71 

an hour's labour in mounting, were conquered in two or 
three minutes. It reminded me much of the Parisian amuse- 
ment of Us montagnes. This, however, lasted no farther 
down than Planpraz, which we soon reached, and there I 
found my father and the ladies, and we descended together 
to Chamouni. The Rhododendron reddened some of the 
cliffs, with many other flowers. 

July 7. — Having got my breakfast early, I set out a 
little before six o'clock, with Marie Coutet as a guide, to 
visit Le Jardin on Mont Blanc. We ascended the Montan- 
vert in less than two hours. I rested a few minutes at Blair's 
Hut, to look over some of the small collections of specimens 
of the different rocks of Mont Blanc. The Mer de Glace is 
by no means a picturesque object from this point. We then 
had to scramble by a diflicult path which leads along the 
cliff which overhangs the Mer de Grlace. The whole of this 
steep side, covered with the Ehododendron in full flower, was 
a wonderfully beautiful sight. It was now growing hot, and 
I was glad to refresh myself with a second breakfast, and 
some cool water mixed with my wine at the fountain. 
Hanging from the vaulted roof of the high hollow in the 
rock, from the bottom of which the fountain bursts, is the 
Ranunculus glacialis, a rare plant. It was in full flower, and 
a very beautiful and conspicuous ornament, with its white 
blossom, to the black rock above. It is impossible to climb 
up to this. A few steps from hence brought us to the place 
where we were to embark on the Mer de Glace. The first 
part of this is the most formidable and hazardous of all, and 
causes many a traveller to relinquish the enterprise. The 
ice is traversed in every direction by rents and deep fissures, 
over which you must leap. I could scarcely summon confi- 
dence at first, not from any fear of the depth of the chasm, 
but the unsafe appearance of the landing-pla.ce on the oppo- 
site side, which, though in fact hard frozen, looks exactly 
like soft snow, a resemblance which the multitude of small 
holes in it full of water serves to confirm. In one place a 
narrow bridge of frozen snow, not above a foot or two deep, 
leads over a chasm of great depth. This we were obliged to 


We had to follow the course of this glacier nine miles up, 

72 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. hi. 

but tlie six last are comparatively easy. I did not find the 
air so much cooled by the ice as the day before, on the 
G-lacier de Bosson, but this might have arisen from the con- 
trast not being so great with the air I had just left as in the 
bottom of the valley. I saw, however, that even in July, 
this large body of ice creates fiost enough in the night to 
encrust over the water which fills many of the chasms. 
Thus there are but a few months out of twelve that can 
melt the glaciers at all, and in these not twelve hours per- 
haps out of twenty-four, and even these twelve hours must 
in the hottest month be partly occupied in doing over again 
the work which each night undoes. We had proceeded, I 
believe, more than half way, before we arrived at what may 
be considered the river Arveiron, yet unborn. All the melt- 
ings of the upper part of the glacier from the summit of 
Mont Blanc, collect and form a torrent, which confines itself 
in as correct a bed down the ice as any river does in a plain ; 
and rushing along with great swiftness, it suddenly comes to 
a deep round well in the ice, just large enough to receive it. 
It plunges down this and appears no more, till under the 
name of the Arveiron in the Valley of Chamouni. This 
chasm is called ' Le Grand Moulin.' As you stand on the 
opposite side to where the torrent enters, you feel a current 
of air blow on your face, caused by the water. We saw a 
rainbow on many sides of this, a phenomenon which I am 
sorry I did not pay more attention to at the time. It is 
also wonderful, I think, that since the well is perpendicular, 
the side against which the water is thrown with great 
violence, instead of being worn away and hollowed, seems 
rather to project. 

While we were here, an avalanche broke loose from a 
rock which overhung the Mer de Glace, and came down 
with a noise like thunder. Many butterflies were flying 
over the glacier. Every here and there huge boulders of 
white granite covered the ice. Two in particular, my guide 
led me to, each of which had one side covered with crystals 
of quartz, some very perfect and richly charged and coloured 
with green chlorite. The large space that was covered with 
these made a splendid show as the sun shone full upon 

i8i8. THE COUVERCLE. 73 

After a walk of nine miles over the ice, it was a won- 
derful transition, on arriving at the foot of the Couvercle, to 
sit down on a plot of grass so richly strewed with our blue 
garden violet that the air was really perfumed. The large 
Veratrnm, blue gentian, and ' Forget-me-not ' were in plenty 
there. Here I took a repast, and seeing my guide fast 
asleep, 1 could not resist following his example. After 
about half an hour he awoke me, and we climbed up a long 
and steep precipice to the summit of the Couvercle, a pro- 
jecting rock, which forms part of the lofty Aiguille du 
Moine. Trom the foot of this rock you see a valley of ice 
extend up to the summit of Mont Blanc : around you are all 
his shapeliest points, ending in beautiful pinnacles of pointed 
rock. The picture is in short entirely composed of the sub- 
lime and terrible — bare rock, ice, snow, and sky, with a dead 
silence round. The Couvercle is the very seat which the 
imagination of Virgil chose for the poet Orpheus, when 
abandoned to despair. 

Solus Hyperboi'eas glacies, Tanaimque nivalem, &c. 

Before descending from the Couvercle, I was glad to 
take a second dinner, for the mountain air has certainly a 
wonderful effect on the appetite. I observed below me, on 
the side of the Mer de Glace, a double moraine remarkably 
regular. The only way in which 1 can conceive this to have 
happened, is by the gradual decomposition of two cliffs 
above, of different altitudes. The fragments from the higher 
would naturally be thrown out farther, and form the exterior 
line. The granite sand of the moraine near the head of the 
glacier contains, as might be expected, much mica, but at 
the source of the Arveiron, and foot of the Grlacier de Bosson, 
it contains none, but is a white powder and as soft as pounce, 
consisting probably of quartz and feltzpar, and mostly of the 
latter. It is this which gives the Arve its milk-white colour, 
and not, as one often hears said, mere melted snow, than 
which nothing is more clear, as I was often glad to find when 

The Arve is much of the colour of streams and ponds 
on chalk in England, than which nothing can be more un- 
picturesque, unless perhaps the torrents which rush from 

74 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. hi. 

I'Aiguille de Varens when the snow melis in the spring, 
which my guide assured me are as black as ink, from the 
slate. We had two miles and a half still to walk before we 
could reach Le Jardin, a fatiguing addition to the march, 
since we were up to our knees in snow at almost every step. 
This little oasis, a small plot of ground only a few hundred 
yards in circumference, and always surrounded by a glacier, 
is the highest elevation at which vegetation exists in Europe, 
but this is not the only reason which renders it worth visit- 
ing. You stand on considerably higher ground here than at 
the Couvercle, and the highest part of Mont Blanc seems to 
have risen much. 

I took a third dinner at this place, and after writing my 
name on a slip of paper, to put into the wine-bottle there, 
which is full of names, began to retrace my steps to the 
Couvercle. I was surprised here at the number of insects, 
but my guide assured me they were surprisingly diminished 
since the year 1815. It is only strange they are not com- 
pletely annihilated at this elevation, since their number has 
been so sensibly affected all over Europe by the late extra- 
ordinary seasons. Many would attribute this to the scarcity 
of entomologists near the summit of Mont Blanc, but the 
fact is, I suppose, there are no birds. A flight of hungry 
swallows would destroy in one evening more than an ento- 
mologist in a year. 

On the snow which we had to pass between the Couvercle 
and Le Jardin, I observed that rose-coloured tint which is so 
difficult to account for, but the snow was not harder in those 
places, as I had heard affirmed. 

I followed my guide with very rapid steps on returning 
over the Mer de Glace, for I began to be afraid of night 
overtaking us. The chasms are much easier to leap in de- 
scending, since you are always on the higher side, and for the 
same reason you can leap many which before caused a great 
detour. We stopped only a few minutes at the Fountain, 
where, after some pelting, a stone brought down two flowers 
from Ranunculus glacialis. At Blair's Hut I found two 
English travellers, looking over the collections of rocks. They 
informed me that my father and the ladies had just left the 
Hut, and were gone to visit the source of the Arveiron. I 

i8i8. THE ARVEIRON. 75 

followed tliem there, by descending the contrary side of the 
Montanvert to what I had climbed in the morning. This 
lengthens the return a little. The precipice here is very 

There is an album at the Montanvert, which I did not 
look into, but one of our party discovered in it a stanza 
which ran, I believe, nearly thus — 

Mont Blanc is the monarcli of mountains, 

They crowned him long ago, 
Enthroned in ice, with rohes of clouds, 

And diadem of snow — 

which, however far from perfection, contains more real poetry 
than I thought could be found in all the albums of Europe. 
The blue vault out of which the Arveiron bursts full-grown 
at its birth is well worth visiting. While we were there, a 
fine avalanche fell, which we saw and heard to great advan- 
tage. The sands of the Arveiron are delicately white and 
fine, but the grains of gold which they say are found in it 
must be transferred, like those of the Pactolus, to the poet's 
verse, befoi-e they will serve as ornaments to the scene. The 
rest of our party rode from thence to Chamouni in chars-a- 
bancs, but I, though much fatigued, preferred finishing this 
short distance on foot. The shortest way from Chamouni to 
Le Jardin and back they reckon forty-eight miles, eighteen 
being over the Mer de Glace, and five over the Glacier du 
Jardin. Too much for one day. 

July 8. — The number of visitors to the Valley of 
Chamouni last year they told us was 1,400, 1,000 of whom 
were English. The town was perfectly inundated while we 
were there, fifty arrived in one day. We determined to-day 
on a visit to the Col de Balme, from which there is by far 
the finest view down the Valley of Chamouni. Chars-a-bancs 
carried us some way, and mules nearly all the rest, which I 
was very glad of, as I was very tired from my preceding 
day's expedition. 

The Mer de Glace is advancing terribly every year, but 

fortunately is going down the valley.' The Glacier d'Ar- 

gentiere is perhaps more threatening, from its nearness to 

the Arve. In the valley I took no less than seven specimens 

* The Mer de Glace has of late years much diminished. 



of that rare insect Papilio Apollo. The rock of the Col de 
Balme is a brown ligneous slate, with some veins of white 
quartz intersecting it : the appearance is very curious. On 
the top was the richest carpet of turf I ever saw, spangled 
with thousands of the deep blue gentian, red trefoil, and other 
mountain flowers, yet exceedingly level. Farther down 
quantities of the Cnicus spinosissimus made a magnificent 
show. There is a small lake on the top of the Col de Balme, 
where we were ; but there is still a higher point, with an iron 
cross at the top, near which M. Eloher perished by his rash- 
ness. To this we did not ascend. 

July 9. — Left Chamouni on our return to Geneva. The 
clouds entirely screened the distant mountains, and there 
were some partial but very heavy showers, which the cover- 
ing of our chars-a-bancs but ill defended. About Servoz it 
is extraordinary how abundant the wild barberry grows. At 
St. Martin we found our carriage again, and dismissed the 
chars-a-bancs, and Chamouni guides. The latter are a most 
intelligent set, but the people of this valley are in general 
frightfully plain, owing chiefly to the goitres, to which the 
women are more liable than men. At St. Martin there are 
few in comparison with the great number at Sallanche, on 
the opposite side of the river. We left Geneva, to commence 
as it were anew a tour through Switzerland. Coasting along 
the lake, we passed Coppet, and slept at Eolle, a neat little 
town on the lake. 

July 12. — We entered the Pays de Vaud, and arrived at 
Lausanne, and walked down to Ouchy, the Pirasus of Lau- 
sanne, and went out on the lake in a boat. We remarked the 
blueness of the water, which cannot be owing to the reflec- 
tion from the sky, since it was very cloudy ; nor is it exclu- 
sively where the water is deep, for I observed near the shore 
that the weeds, which when pulled up were perfectly green, were 
blue when seen through the water. The town of Lausanne 
is uninteresting, except to us from having been so long the 
residence of Gibbon. From Iverdun to Ncuchatel is a 
pleasant drive, but the road at first is execrable along the 
shingle of the lake, which is of a very sea-green cerulean 
colour, and very different from the blueness of Geneva. In 
Neuchatel there were certainly more good gentlemen's 


BASLE. 77 

bouses than we had seen in any place of the same size on 

the Continent. One of Monsieur Pourtalis, in his time the 

greatest merchant in Europe, whose family still lives here. 

One of Monsieur Pourri, also a very wealthy merchant. The 

latter built the large town-hall here, the former the hospital. 

July 15. — After leaving Neuchatel, we soon approached 

the end of the lake, and went through St. Blaise, a large 

village, and saw next the Lac de Bienne, in the middle 

of which is Rousseau's Island, where he resided so long, and 

by it the ' Isle des Lapins,' which it was his fancy to people 

with rabbits. We were obliged to have six horses to mount 

a long and steep hill, from which we enjoyed again a grand 

view of the distant Alps. A fine mist between us and the 

base of the chain had exactly the appearance of a second 

atmosphere, and the gigantic summits of the Alps seemed 

.cut off and unconnected with the earth. Here we took leave 

of the Alps for a time, and entered a very romantic valley, 

fine forests of fir on all sides, and high limestone cliffs, the 

stratification much disturbed, but answering in general one 

side with the other in their inclination. We passed under 

Pierre Pertuis, a curious excavated rock, but more celebrated 

perhaps than it deserves. 

July 17. — Went to Basle by the side of the river Birs, up 
a long valley, in which there was a great vaiiety and abund- 
ance of wood. After dinner we walked to the cathedral, and 
climbed the spire, from which we saw into Prance, Germany, 
and Switzerland. I rather liked the effect of the painted 
tiles on the roof of the cathedral, which were laid in the 
mosaic style. 

July 18. — Holbein was a native of this place, and there 
are in the Bibliotheque Publique many of his drawings, and 
nine small, exquisitely finished paintings in the same frame, 
representing ' The Passion.' They have also here a great 
treasure, an edition of the ' Laus Stultitise ' of Erasmus, with 
pencil vignettes drawn on almost every page by Holbein, and 
which show a great deal of genius. The collection of fossil 
remains, taken chiefly from the limestone of the Jura, is rich. 
I am much struck with some which I believe to have been 
Tulip Alcionia. They have also a large Monoculus, which 
they consider unique. 


CHAP. iir. 

We next went to tlie gardens of Mr. Fisher, banker, 
whicli are laid out witli taste, and look down upon the 
Rhine. In the rock-work and arbours were some beautiful 
specimens of Tuff. This modem formation, which abounds 
here from the large quantities of limestone in the Jura, is 
found very useful in building under water, since from its 
porous nature it hardens every year by deposition. It is 
also inestimable from its great lightness in the higher storeys 
of their houses, which are chiefly built of wood. 

After a walk round the small botanic garden here, we 
proceeded on our way to Schaffhausen as far as Stein, a small 
village on the Rhine, where we slept. The first red sand- 
stone I had seen since I had been on the Continent was in 
the cathedral of Basle, which is built of it, but I thought I 
observed it to-day composing the banks of the Rhine. 

July 19. — Before the windows of our inn at Stein, on the 
opposite side of the Rhine, was Sackingen, a considerable 
town, which, with the two towers of its cathedral, its lonw 
bridge finished with a tower, the broad river, ajid the harvest 
going on in the fields, formed a pleasing picture. From this 
place we went on to Lauffenburg, and again crossed the 
Rhine into Germany. A short distance below the bridge, 
the Rhine is confined between some rocks, so as to appear 
only a third of its size. It rushes with amazing violence, the 
greenness of its colour, the quantities of foam, and the large 
waves and whirlpools which it causes below these rocks, give 
it a more exact resemblance to the sea, during a brisk gale 
than anything I ever saw inland. 

July 20. — When we had approached within a mile and a 
half of Schaffhausen, we sent on the carriage, and walked 
down to Lauffen, to see the Fall of the Rhine. This approach 
is very favourable, and we got many picturesque views of 
the Fall before we arrived at the Castle of Lauffen. In a 
room at the top of this, we had a fine front view of this 
magnificent object. Afterwards they darkened the room, and 
threw a beautiful landscape of the Fall on a white piece of 
canvas suspended from the ceiling, by means of a camera- 
obscura. It was a complete picture, with the addition of 
motion. The water tumbling over, the clouds of foam, and 
the agitation of the water in the large basin below, appeared 


beautiful on this flat surface. We passed over afterwards 
to tlie top gallery, from which you look down on the Pall, 
and see admirably the contrast of the river before and after 
it has been hurled down the precipice. We then descended 
to the lower gallery, where you are well repaid for the wetting 
you get from the spray. Tour eye meets the Fall midway, 
and you can form a just idea of the body of water which is 
carried down. The rock is limestone, and I found some 
fossil shells in it. The masses which break the Pall so 
picturesquely, are much worn away on the side which is 
opposed to the current : one is perforated. They must in the 
course of time gradually waste away. They are happily 
clothed with underwood. I observed, as the sun shone on 
the foam, it took very much the rose-coloured tint so re- 
markable on the snow in the Alps. In our walk back to 
Schaffhausen, the heat was very oppressive. In consequence 
of the fineness of the summer, they look forward to as rich 
a vintage as 1811, the memorable year of the comet. The 
waiter at the Couronne assured us that at their inn alone 
they had, in the course of last year, 745 English, not includ- 
ing other foreigners. From Schaffhausen we went to 
Eglisau, a town on the Rhine, where we slept. 

Between Eglisau and Zurich we passed through a very 
rich corn country. They cultivate much the poppy here for 
medicine. The flowers are single but large, chiefly white, 
but sometimes a good proportion of red and pink intermixed. 
When in full blow, and with a field of ripe corn on each side, 
it is the gayest crop imaginable. We arrived early at 
Zurich, and drove to the Hotel de I'Epee, a celebrated inn, 
but which I found partook more than any of a fault too 
common in Switzerland. They have their stables and cow- 
houses under the same roof, and the unavoidable conse- 
quences may be conceived, tiU they can fall in with a man 
as able — as ' Hercules to cleanse a stable.' '' 

The next morning we paid a visit to the librarj', in which, 
besides many curious fossils, they showed us a literary curio- 
sity interesting to an Englishman, the Latin letters of Lady 
Jane Grey to some learned man of Ziirich, in which were 
many Greek and Hebrew quotations. From Zurich we pro- 

* Hiidibras. 



ceeded to climb Mount Albis, from the summit o£ which, we 
enjoyed a most beautiful and picturesque view of both ends 
of the Lake of Ziirieh. On the other side, the Alps were ob- 
scured by clouds, but we saw the Eighi and the Hackenburg, 
a very remarkable broken mountain. After dining at the 
inn near the top of Mount Albis, we passed a small lake 
which they call the Tiirler See, and then went down to Zug. 
The latter part of the descent was almost dangerous for so 
heavy a carriage as ours. 

July 23. — The rest of the party having decided upon going 
straight from Zug to Lucerne, I engaged a guide to conduct 
me to the Eighi. I landed at Arth, a small place in the 
centre of Schwytz, where the costume amused me much, for 
the women wear an exact imitation of the crest of the 
hoopoo on their heads, a high double frill reaching from the 
back of the head to the forehead, very ridiculous, and I 
should think useless. 

At the inn an English traveller, a Mr. Hope, who was 
just sending forward his servant to the top of the Righi, 
politely offered to engage a room for me at the same time. 
I then made my guide conduct me to the Valley of Goldau, 
that I might have a new view of the Kossberg, a mountain 
from which a large part fell twelve years ago, and buried a 
village. The guide pointed out very evident marks of a 
more ancient eboulement, which had extended considerably 
farther than the last, but of which they do not know the 
date. The recent pile stands exactly over the former one, 
yet, wonderful to say, a church and a large inn have been 
erected already over it. A large stripe marks the passage 
down which the fragments rolled, from the top to the bottom 
of the mountain. They are chiefly of pudding-stone, and 
the best explanation I could imagine, after hearing the dif- 
ferent accounts of the people there, is that a vast quantity of 
water, after long rains, had collected at the juncture of the 
pudding-stone and a stratum of argillaceous earth, about 
half-way down the mountain, which at length gained strength 
sufficient to wash out part of the clay, and let down the 
pudding-stone above. The great difficulty is, that all the 
accounts of the people there seem to agree in stating that 
large masses were blown up, as if by volcanic force, perpen- 

l8i8. LUCERNE. 81 

dicularly in the air, which some attempt to explain by the 
force of water, others by air, confined. 

It was a scorching day, but I proceeded immediately to 
mount the Righi. About every hundred yards was a high 
crucifix, with a neat little painting at the top. Numbers of 
travellers were climbing at the same time. 

At Righi, a place about half-way up, where there is an 
inn, I met with a party of Englishmen, Sir John Wrottesley 
and his three sons, the oldest of whom is at Oxford, whom I 
know by sight only, and as intimate with some friends of 
mine. Having entered into conversation, we ascended by a 
very fatiguing march to the Stafifel, where we dined together. 
There were a great many fountains of excellent fresh water, 
which relieved us much the whole way. The mountain ap- 
peared composed entirely of pudding-stone, and some very 
fine cliffs of this rock presented themselves to us in a very 
singular manner during our ascent. It is a very practicable 
mule road the whole way, but very laborious. 

The view towards the Alps was in part obscured by 
clouds, and had opened so gradually to us at every step, 
when we cast our eyes back, that we seemed to see nothing 
more on this side on arriving at the top, but on looking 
down the precipice on the western side, which was free from 
all clouds and mist, a view opened to us which astonished 
me more agreeably than anything of the kind I had erer 
seen before. It gave me precisely the idea of being raised 
to a great height, and looking down upon a whole world at 
once. Numberless small lakes, rivers, and towns, could be 
distinctly taken in at the same time by the eye. The large 
lake of Lucerne, at our feet, happened to have the sun full 
upon it, and was in a blaze, which at such a depth below us 
had a singular effect. The lake of Zug also made a great 
feature in this enormous map. Mount Pilatus seemed of 
great height, even viewed from this, and the Altorf end of 
the lake of Lucerne was very remarkable, however much it 
lost by the distance. As the sun descended, it totally left 
the lake of Lucerne, and filled with a blaze of splendour the 
Sempaeh, which is much more distant, but so considerable 
a sheet of water, that it became a very striking feature. 
' We staid on this point till sunset, and then determined 

VOL. I. G 

82 SIR CHARLES LY.ELL. chap. hi. 

upon mounting to the Culm to sleep, wliicli we found very 
full of travellers. Fortunately my room was secured, and 
Mr. Hope came to say he would give also his room to our 
party, for he should go down the mountain again. In these 
two rooms were four beds, which was all the landlord said he 
could spare for our party of five. In this little hut, 4,350 
feet above the level of the sea, this Bedlam of languages, 
this chaos of confusion, were shut up nearly forty travellers, 
with many guides, and the servants of the inn. Many 
French, Germans, English, and Swiss, were supping together 
in the salle-a-manger, which was in a few minutes to be a 
barrack bedroom. 

As none of the people of the inn would attend to us, we 
took possession of two rooms, which contained five beds, but 
our host turned us out immediately, and said if we were 
discontented with the accommodation we might turn out of 
doors, for he had no scarcity of inmates, and for his part he 
should have thought us well off with half the number of 
beds, ' since what objection could we have to sleep two in 
the same bed ? ' On this dilemma, Mr. Johnson, an English- 
man, came to say there were two beds in his room, one of 
which he should be most happy to give us. We went with 
him, but found the people taking out this extra bed, and in 
the meantime some ladies took possession of our single- 
bedded room. Thus were we reduced to one room with three 
beds ! The landlord, however, soon gave us back our right, 
and we made up another bed for ourselves on the floor, by 
pillaging a pillow from one room, a sheet from another, 
&c. I must not forget, however, the assistance which Mr. 
Eeichenbach afforded us, by coming, when we were nearly in 
bed, with his bedgown and nightcap on, to beg we would 
accept son couverture, of which he had no want ! His large 
fat figure, which almost out-Falstaffed Falstaff, appeared to 
such advantage in his nocturnal habiliments, that we could 
not resist a laugh of admiration, which he very good- 
humouredly joined in. The eldest of the Mr. Wrottesleys 
having laid down on this shakedown, I got into a small bed, 
one of those which our worthy host thought a handsome 
provision for two of us. I was immediately attacked by a 
legion of fleas, who seemed to consider me as private pro- 

i8i8. RIGHL 83 

perty. There was too mucli noise for anyone to get much 
sleep, and so thin were the partitions, that we heard every 
one snore distinctly at the distance of three rooms. 

July 24. — Before three o'clock, and long before the rising 

of the sun, nearly forty miserable half-dressed and shivering 

wretches were to be seen crowding round the crucifix on the 

highest point of the Righi-Culm. Scarcely a word was 

spoken, and a stranger might have mistaken them for so 

many pilgrims, and admired the fortitude with which they 

bore up against their evident distress. Not a single cloud 

or mist prevented our seeing the outline of the Alps, and I 

suppose it must have been our inconvenience (for we were 

wet through in our feet, as well as chilled by the air) that 

made our party all agree that the view was less grand by 

sunrise than sunset. After breakfast we descended to 

Kiissnacht. This side is much more precipitous than the one 

we had before taken to mount from Arth. A short way 

above William Tell's chapel is a most delightful view of the 

lake of Lucerne, Mount Pilatus on the left, and the Stanzer- 

horn on the right. Went from Ktissnacht to Lucerne in 

a boat with Sir John Wrottesley and his party, and here I 

rejoined our family. 

o 2 

84 SIJ? CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 




JOURNAL (continued). 

July 25. — Went in a boat from Lucerne to Alpnach; 
many magnificent views of Mount Pilatus. The rain 
detained us some time at Alpnach, and the ladies were 
obliged at last to set out in a char-a-baucs before it quite 
stopped, in order to reach Sarnen before night. I preferred 
walking, and went with my guide by a short cut, which 
brought me there half an hour before the carriage arrived. 
We crossed a bridge of wood 500 feet long, but only two or 
three feet broad, over a torrent which has astonishing power in 
the spring, but which then, in spite of the showers that 
morning, had not a drop of water in it. Sarnen is a miser- 
ably poor place, yet nevertheless calls itself the capital of the 
canton of Unterwald. Here they are all Catholics, and 
Nicholas de Flue is their guardian saint, who for many 
hundred years has saved their wooden walls from flame. 
His tomb is not far off, at Sachseln, which we were fortunate 
in reaching on. Sunday, since many pilgrims were ofPeringup 
their prayers there, some getting down below the floor of the 
chapel, to pray under his body. The chapel was full of 
curious offerings, and the variety of the costume of people 
come from different parts was entertaining. Both the 
lakes of Sarnen and Lungern are picturesque. At Lungern 
we dined, and then began to mount the Brunig, a pass 

i8i8. MEYRINGEN. 85 

wMcli the ladies found rather nervous on mules, and which 
I preferred walking. The scenery was very romantic the 
whole way, till at last we descended into the valley of Ilasli 
to Meyringen. 

July 27. — Went from Meyringen to Brientz. We were 
rowed, and rather rapidly, by two women and a boy. This 
is a common custom with the women in Switzerland, arising 
probably from the men all staying for some months in the 
mountains with their herds. Having landed on the opposite 
side, we weie conducted up to see the different falls of the 
Giesbach, one above the other, which present numberless 
views, all extremely picturesque. The body of water is con- 
siderable, and very white, and the accompaniments of wood 
and water beautiful. We returned immediately to Meyrin- 
gen, and were imprisoned by the rain the first time since our 
arrival on the Continent. In the morning I visited, in spite 
of the rain, the Alpbaeh, a cascade which falls from a con- 
siderable height only a few hundred yards from the town. 
Its colour is a Stygian blackness, and we had heard it all 
night pitching over, with a horrible clatter, large stones from 
the top to the bottom. This torrent some years ago nearly 
washed away the town of Meyringen, after which the 
inhabitants with great labour built an immense thick stone 
wall, reaching nearly from the Fall to the Aare, to conduct it 
in a straight course to the river. Nothing but this saved 
them on the Saturday before we arrived. The clergyman of 
the parish had exhorted them, in a sermon on Sunday, to 
keep a strong guard on the wall night and day, and when 
the torrent attacked any particular part, to throw branches 
of fir and other things to divert it from the wall. This guard 
we found still actively employed, for the river was constantly 
changing its direction, from the large mass of matter which 
was moving in its bed. This mischief happens after long 
droughts, when the sun has had great power on the slate 
rocks above, and caused them to crack and decompose. 
None but those who have witnessed it can conceive the 
strength of water charged with this black slate powder. The 
rocks seemed actually to float in it, and a trifling depth of it 
was pushing heavy bodies along. 

JvXy 29. — Our party went from Meyringen up the valley 



of Hasli to Handeck, to see the Fall of the Aare, the distance 
of six leagues, a very fair mule road, but which I preferred 
walking. The FaU of the Aare is truly grand, the height 
great, and the body of water considerable. Down the same 
precipice another river of inferior size, but of a better colour, 
falls over at right angles, and meeting the Aare in the middle 
of its fall, causes a magnificent conflict of water, with clouds 
of foam. Two bright rainbows were spanning and connect- 
ing with a sort of fairy arch this tremendous rent in the 
rocks. The Fall is well shown from below, and from the 
precipices which overhang it, where you are obliged to lie 
down full length and look over. Here you are placed between 
the two rivers, the smallest of which was a large body of 
water when we saw it, from the late rains. Finding here 
three German-Swiss gentlemen who were going up to the 
Grimsel, I determined to walk there with them, and see the 
glacier of the Ehone, while my father and the ladies 
returned to Meyringen. I had two leagues farther to climb 
to the Hospice, the scenery becoming at every step more 
savage. Several times the path crossed large streams by 
bridges of snow, the remains of spring avalanches, which 
last all the year, coming down the beds of these torrents, 
and in many places bridging over the Aare. We passed 
some extraordinary large bare planks of granite rock above our 
track, the appearance of which I could not account for. A 
thick mist afterwards came, which prevented us almost from 
seeing one another, and I was heartily glad to reach the 
Hospice, though a dreadfully rough reception one meets with. 
July 30. — My feet had snfiered so much from my walk of 
eight leagues over rocky ground the day before, that I left 
with regret even the wretched bed they gave me at the 
Grimsel, to undertake eleven leagues more to see the glacier 
and return to Meyringen. I got, however, on the march 
with my German friends by five o'clock, though the fog was 
as thick as it had been the evening before. We could only 
see three or four feet before us, but when we were on the top 
of the Grimsel, the guide gave us notice it was going to clear 
up. We none of us believed him, but it grew more light 
rapidly every minute, and suddenly the mist which was 
round us rose above the summit of the Finster Aarhorn, the 


loftiest of all this chain of Alps, and is of a very picturesque 
shape as seen from here. The rest of the vapour fell down 
upon the little lake which is near the Hospice, and seemed 
to cross the valley like a compact white body, as a glacier 
might. The whole of this ' drawing the curtain ' did not, I 
think, take above ten minutes, and was one of the most 
beautiful phenomena I had witnessed in Switzerland. Soon 
afterwards we came to a small lake, above which was a steep 
slanting precipice of glazed snow, a pass which, without 
pikes, would have been difficult. Here we remarked that 
bright rose colour on some patches which is so extraordinary. 
As the guide I had taken from the Hospice could talk 
nothing but German, I requested my companions to ask each 
of our guides their opinion on the subject, not with any 
expectation of their clearing up a difficulty which Saussure 
could not, but in order to judge of their intelligence. The,ir 
man, whom they described as %n hon gargon, mais un pen bete, 
seriously declared his belief that wine had been spilt over the 
snow. My guide, after having joined in our laugh at this 
solution, said the cause was evident enough, viz., that when 
the sun had melted the snow for five or six years, it invari- 
ably turned of this colour. We soon came in sight of the 
glacier of the Ehone, and I was disappointed to see that it 
was inferior to every one of those of Chamouni in beauty, 
and the phenomenon comparatively nothing, since instead of 
the rich cultivation of that at the foot of the Mer de Glace, 
there were only some poor pastures. I was almost sorry 
afterwards I had undertaken the task of descending to the 
source of the Rhone, since it was a precipice which costs 
much labour to go down and up again. My German friends 
having gone on to cross the Furka, I returned to the Grimsel 
to breakfast, and as my guide was of no use, speaking not a 
word of French, I found my way back to the Fall of the Aare 
alone, having dismissed him at the Hospice. Here I found 
Mr. Johnson, whom I had before met on the Righi, and I 
returned with him to Meyringen. 

July 31. — At the inn at Meyringen they keep a boy who 
is almost an idiot to black the shoes. He can speak but two or 
three words, and understands scarcely anything but signs. I 
tried to let him know, by pointing to my watch, that I wished 

88 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

to be called at half-past three, and, to my astonishment, he 
came to a minute. I started by five, determined to pass the 
two Scheidecks before evening, which is fourteen leagues. I 
had performed the preceding day what the Swiss call eleven 
good leagues, or nearly twelve, and the day before that eight. 
When I boasted of this to my guide, he observed coolly, or 
almost I thought with a sneer, ' Oui, c'est assez pour un 
Monsieur.' A just reproof, and which might come home to 
many a bragging pedestrian, since, let these gentlemen do 
what they will, the peasant will follow them as far, carrying 
their bags, and without the same mental stimulus to assist 
him. At the foot of the Scheideck I went to see the lower 
fall of the Eeichenbach only. In this I saw nothing remark- 
ably fine. At the chalet, which is six miles on, I stopped to 
breakfast. Many small avalanches fell while I was here, with 
a noise like that of distant thunder, from the Wetterhorn, 
which rises here very grandly. A precipice of snow near its 
summit presents a curious furrowed appearance, from ava- 
lanches which have rolled down there. We descended into the 
valley of Grindelwald, andl went alittle outof my way to view 
the glacier. It is less picturesque, but very unlike those of 
Chamouni. I had here, as at the Eossberg, another attesta- 
tion of ' how little distant dangers seem ' to most men. The 
peasant who lives here told me that the glacier advances 
rapidly, but has not near reached an ancient boundary, for 
that he had built his chalet on an ancient moraine. If the 
next three winters are in any way as severe as the last three 
his habitation will unquestionably form a part of a new 
moraine. At Grindelwald, where I dined, I saw La belle 
Elizabeth, formerly La belle bateliere on the lake of 
Brientz, now the wife of the landlord of the ' Chamouni,' who 
has the reputation of using her very ill. I bought some 
trifles of her, to entitle me to write my name in her album, 
where I found those of hundreds of my countrymen. A 
remark of Southey's I thought curious. ' E. S. recognises 
in Elizabeth a striking resemblance to La Fornarina of 
Eaffael.' She has not the least affectation, either in hermanner 
or her dress, and deserves, I think, her great fame for beauty. 
I did not lose much time in the valley of Grindelwald, with 
which I was rather disappointed, but climbed the Wengern 

iSi8. BERNE. 89 

Alp, or lesser Sdieideck, under a most burning sun. From 
the top of this the two Eigers are seen to great advantage. 
The great Eiger rises at once from its base to its summit, 
one huge and tremendous precipice, far above the height of 
perpetual snow, but so perpendicular that little can rest upon 
it. From one of the ledges of snow at about its middle height, 
I saw a fine avalanche fall over a precipice down to a parallel 
ledge below. A loud crash announced to us the detaching 
of the mass, and the leisurely way in which it appeared to 
our eyes to descend this seemingly short precipice, gave me 
a vast idea of the height of the whole Eiger. The mass had 
reached its destination, and a great deal of the cataract of 
snow which it brought with it had followed, before the report 
reached us, which was like that of a loud clap of thunder. 
I was prevented by the clouds from seeing the Jungfrau, but 
got a fine view into the valley of Lauterbrunnen in descend- 
ing. There I found the inn so full, that they could not give 
me a bed after my long march. I was obliged to lie down 
in the salle, with several other travellers, where I got no 
sleep, not from the want of a bed, for I was tired enough to 
have slept anywhere, but from the incessant noises. At 
Thunwe met our carriage, and went to Berne througii. a well- 
wooded corn country, often much resembling England. 
Berne was the most regular built town we had been in. 

I called with my father on Dr. Witteubach,' with whom 
we were much pleased. He walked with us on the ramparts, 
where we got a superb view of the Alps, lighted up by the 
setting sun. Among other things the Doctor mentioned his 
having been much enraged with Cox, the tourist, who in his 
Fauna of Switzerland included the white bear as an in- 
habitant of the Alps ! and as if on Dr. W.'s authority. 

In the exhibition at Berne are some good water-colour 
drawings of scenes in Switzerland, most of them for sale, 
and dear enough. Here we fell in with Dr. Wittenbach 
again, and he gave us a most entertaining lecture on the 
geology and mineralogy of Switzerland. He has a pretty 
large collection of specimens from many distant parts, as 
well as the Alps, which he himself has examined carefully. He 
invited us to bring our whole party to drink tea with him in 
' Eminent Swiss naturalist. 

90 S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

the evening in a public promenade, whieh is much the 
fashion at Berne. We were glad to accept the invitation, 
and were fortunate in having a fine evening, with all the 
most distant Alps perfectly clear. 

August 7. — We went on to Payerne, through a rich culti- 
vated country. Before descending to this town we saw in the 
distance the lake of Morafc and the opening of the vale of 
Travers in the Jura. We also passed a small lake before 
Vevay, containing only a few acres of water. The descent to 
that place along the side of the lake was most beautiful. 

August 8. — From Vevay we went along the shore of the 
lake, which is much more picturesque here than at the 
Geneva end. We passed the Chateau of Clarens to our left, 
immortalised by the Heloise of Eousseau, and then came to 
the Chateau de Chillon, which Lord Byron has lately made 
equally celebrated. Here we were conducted down into the 
dungeon in which the prisoners were confined. Leaving 
Villeneuve to our right, we passed on to Bex. From the inn we 
engaged a char-a-bancs which carried us up a valley, branching 
from Le Vallais, down which we looked full upon the Dent 
de Midi, a magnificent mountain. The excavations which 
have been made in hopes of discovering more salt^springs 
are on a very large scale : galleries of immense length have 
been cut through the rock. We were not content with 
walking through the lower one of these, but went up to the 
higher gallery. The great length, narrowness, and the wet 
of this, and the wind which blew out our lamps constantly, 
made it a fatiguing expedition, and we gained little enough 
by it. Each held a lamp, and the guide one, and all put on 
some ragged surtouts, to preserve us from the dropping of 
the water, which gave the party a grotesque appearance in 
the subterranean chambers which we arrived at in some 
parts of the gallery. After returning to see the House of 
Graduation, where the salt is extracted from the weaker 
spring by a very ingenious contrivance, we got into our 
char-a-bancs and proceeded towards Bex. From this we went 
on to St. Maurice, a narrow gorge through which the 
Rhone passes, and where Le Vallais properly begins, though 
the valley of the Rhone certainly reaches naturally to the 
lake of Geneva. There is a large cliff at the right of St. 


Maurice, with, very horizontal lines of stratification, some of 
which form terraces. On one of these is placed a house very- 
high np, which seems stuck on to the perpendicular preci- 
pice. We went on the Martigny road to the Pisse-vache, a 
justly celebrated waterfall. Its singularity depends on the 
distance which it is thrown from the rock where it shoots 
over at the top, and an appearance of falling rockets which 
the little jets of water make when they are parted from the 
main body of the Fall. 

After this a scene of lamentable desolation began,^ — 
fields of corn under water still, and further on entirely 
covered with sand. The road was in some places under 
water, and the carriage was obliged to pass through very 
deep places. At last we left the old road altogether, and 
went over a tract of sand, under which had once been hedges 
and fertile fields. The trees alone remained bursting up 
through it, and at the foot of each of them was a heap of 
dried trunks and branches of trees and planks of houses 
which the current had brought down and lodged there. 
There was lying by the side of the road one striking 
instance of the great force which the flood had had. A 
large pine of full eighteen inches diameter, and proportionable 
height, had floated down and been stopped by a pollard 
poplar. The water had rushed with such violence against the 
two ends of the pine, that it had cracked in the middle 
and been twisted round the poplar. The tree was green 
when snapped, and therefore still held together. The 
diameter was eighteen inches at the part which rested against 
the poplar where it was broken. 

Our inn at Martigny, the post-house, presented a sad 
scene. The first storey had been filled with mud, sand, 
rubbish, planks of houses, and boughs of trees. All this had 
been thrown out into the court. Everything I saw here 
increased my curiosity to ascend farther up the valley which 
had suffered by this calamity, and to reach the glacier next 
day. I found it was necessary to get at least to Senibranchier 
before night. It was late, but I took a mule and a guide 

^ The Dranse, having been blocked up by the Glacier de Bague, formed a 
lake, which burst on June 16 of this year, sweeping away villages, and devastat- 
ing the fruitful and beautiful valley. 


witli me, and crossed Mont Chemin. When we got to Sem- 
branchier it was dark as midnight, and a storm of thunder 
and lightning as terrible as I had ever witnessed. Neverthe- 
less my guide advised me to press on, as there was no rain, 
to the next place, where there was a better inn, and as we 
had too mnch for the next day. It was three miles farther. 
1 determined to walk, and let the guide drive the mule. A 
little beggar-boy, a child of twelve years old, who I suppose 
had lost his way and was terrified at the storm, seized hold 
of the mule's tail, and in spite of the guide's threats clung 
fast to it, till we got to Bagne, allowing himself to be 
dragged over stones and through two or three large brooks. 

August 10. — The house which I slept at, the residence of 
President Gard, the chief magistrate for the commonalty of 
Bagnes, had once been a monastery, and if the accounts of 
the peasants of this valley can be believed, the French have 
done the country much good by abolishing it. The monks 
appear to have been a selfish, luxurious, and despotic body. 
There are 8,500 souls in the valley of Bagnes; all speak 
French. Mons. Gard condescends to wait on his guests in 
character of waiter. He seems popular with the common 
people, and was chosen, they told me, by the French, as 
being the only one who could read and write among their 
3,500 inhabitants. 

At every step as we advanced my guide pointed out some 
devastations of the Dranse, which I should not have re- 
marked. Many chalets, indeed most of them that stood in 
the way, have been so completely buried, that a stranger 
might pass all up this valley, and see no greater signs of 
desolation than the wide channels Alpine rivers so often 
present. I had not rode, however, nine miles, before I had 
feeling assurance of the destructions of the Dranse. The 
bridge of Lourtier had been carried away two nights before, 
and only a single plank of the new bridge as yet thrown over. 
The mule I was of coiirse obliged to leave, and the crossing 
so furious a river by a single plank would have been dan- 
gerous to a nervous person. About eighteen people were 
employed in erecting this wooden bridge, and I was much 
amused with the simplicity of their operations. They first 
cut down three of the largest firs they can find near the 

I8i8. VAL DE BAGNE. 93 

river, square them, and then send two or three men by some 
bridge, whether up or down the torrent, across to the other side. 
A rope is thrown over to them, fastened to the end of one of 
the trees. By this means the first plank forms a communi- 
cation, after which two more are soon got to the side of it. 
They then merely fasten cross boards on these three trees, and 
thus over a river fifty feet wide in the smallest part they 
can drive hundreds of cattle every day. Large masses of 
micaceous schist rock have been finely laid open to the day 
by the late catastrophe. Near the cascade of Lavanche, 
where the Dranse falls down from a considerable height, the 
soil has been laid open to a great depth, and it is easy to see 
that it consists of rounded boulders of an immense number 
of different primitive rocks, which do not seem to belong to 
this neighbourhood. The scenery of this valley is very 
beautiful, like that of Hasli. Owing to the annihilation of 
the old road, our path was very intricate and difficult, and 
we had to walk five or six leagues before we arrived at the 
head of the valley. Here there is a chalet, where six men 
live who have in charge eighty -four cows and twelve pigs, 
belonging to perhaps nearly as many proprietors in the 
valley, who pay them^ for herding and milking their animals. 
They make almost all of it into cheese. It is wonderful that 
six men should be equal to this labour. The heat of the sun 
was very oppressive, and when I saw an immense fire in the 
chalet for boiling the milk, I of course felt no incliuation to 
enter. Having got some milk from them, and made a 
dinner on the provisions I had brought with me, I walked 
a short way up, which brought us in front of the glacier of 
Getroz. I was much gratified here by seeing at the first 
glance exactly how everything must have happened. My 
guide informed me that this spot was formerly called Mont 
M-auvoisin, from the near approach of the two perpendicular 
cliffs on each side of the valley. Opposite to us was Mont 
Pleureur, a tremendous precipice, over the brow of which 
peeps the glacier of Getroz, which increased so much in the 
last severe winter, that it thrust over immense masses of 
ice. These falling with the snow in the spring, completely 
blocked up the narrow chasm into which the valley is here 
contracted. An immense lake was soon collected from the 


stoppage of so considerable a river as the Draiise. Every 
exertion appears to have been made, and tvfo-thirds of the 
lake successfully drained out. It was the remaining third 
which had force to lay waste so much land. The remains 
of this immense avalanche are diminishing greatly every day, 
but are still a grand object. The perpendicular precipice of 
ice must be in the middle (to speak within bounds) 150 feet, 
and the slanting line of snow from the top of this to the 
side of Mont Pleureur as much again. Between this preci- 
pice of ice on the side of Mont Pleureur and Mauvoisin, the 
cliff on the opposite side of the valley, there is little more 
than room for the river to pass, and very considerable danger, 
as every one here believes, of the same calamities recurring 
next year. There is, however, great hopes, from the heat of 
the present summer, that the glacier will retire, and the river 
force its passage as of old, under the spring avalanches. In 
looking up the valley I saw the glacier of Chermontane, which 
appears very large. Though there were such numbers of 
houses destroyed by the flood of June 1 6, yet only twenty- 
five persons lost their lives, and those were mostly at Mar- 
tigny. The engineer had given all due warning, but the 
people of Martigny thought themselves secure, from a tele- 
graphic communication which they agreed upon with some 
people at the top of the valley. Fires were to have been 
lighted as beacons, but those on the two first hills by some 
mistake were never lighted, and if a shepherd on Mont 
Chemin, on hearing the roar of the torrent, had not set fire 
to his beacon, hundreds would have perished. In returning 
home I stopped to eat some whortleberries, which grow on 
the side of these mountains of greater height and perfection 
than I ever saw elsewhere. In this patois they call them 
Loutres, and use them for a dye. 

My guide pointed out to me a dead snake like an adder. 
Some beetles were feeding on it, which I was amused to 
find were the Silpha vespillo which I have often observed on 
dead snakes in England. The abundance of grasshoppers 
and their different notes is really to a stranger a character- 
istic part of Switzerland's rural curiosities. Some green 
ones are of an enormous size, and, like Anacreon's, sing 
chiefly in trees. There is a grey one with scarlet wings 


(the colour of the under- wings of Phalmna Caja) which makes 
a curious cackling noise as it flies. 

Most of these Grylli, I observed, make their noise by 
pressing the thigh against their side, but some keep their 
thighs immovable, and make it with the upper part of their 
wings and wing-cases. Neither of these organs would make 
a very poetical figure in Anacreon's elegant ode, as instru- 
ments of sound, however much Aristophanes might have 
enjoyed paying this animal, which the Athenian loved so 
much, the compliment of having ' a good thigh for sing- 

The bridge of Lourtier, which I had crossed by one plank 
in the morning, I found nearly finished. Here I mounted 
my mule, and rode to near Lourtier. The river we saw had 
increased mtich by the heat of the day, which had melted 
much snow. Farther on, we found the road I had passed 
in the morning was washed away by the swelling ton-ent. 
My guide was obliged to ascend the mountains with my 
mule, and make a detour to Lourtier. I scrambled on, and 
joined him there. Here, to our further disappointment, we 
found the bridge we had before crossed in the act of being 
swept away. The Dranse had brought down rocks which 
had raised its bed twelve feet or more, just above the bridge. 
Over these a cascade was pouring, which fell with fury upon 
the bridge, and had already broke much of it up. 

A herd of goats belonging to the different villagers, 
which I had seen driven over this in the morning, were thus 
prevented from returning, and many poor wretches went 
in consequence to bed without their supper, for which they 
depend solely on their goats. Some men were dismissed to 
the mountains, to milk them, with a few pails only. The 
greatest part they said they should be obliged to waste on 
the rocks, rather than let the goats go two days without 
being milked, which is very injurious to them. 

Since it was now impossible to advance farther, I got a 
lodging in a miserable chalet belonging to the Freres Mi- 
chaud, who have lost greatly by the late deluge. They were 
before reckoned wealthy. 

August 11. — I left my hard bed of straw very early, and 
proceeded to the President Gard's, at five miles distance. We 



had to scramWe over a difficult mountain path, for the main 
road on the opposite side of the river was closed from us by 
the top of the bridge at Lourtier. Having breakfasted here, 
I went on to Sembranchier. At the hamlet of Matignet, my 
guide pointed out the place where a bam had been ca.rried 
away. The widow who had built it, finished it that spring 
on June 11, and had an inscription carved on one of the 
boards : ' The widow Anne M. Fillet built this in spite of 
the lake of Malvoisiu.' Five days after came the flood, and 
this very board with the inscription was picked up at 
Martigny, nine miles off, and is, I understand, still shown at 
one of the inns. 

In the valley of Sembranchier I was able to ride my 
mule much pleasanter. There is nothing a Swiss peasant 
points out with such exultation as a field of corn, nothing is 
to their eyes so picturesque. The scenery, in fact, of this 
valley is much hurt by the extent of cultivation, and is 
in every way inferior to that of the valley of Bagnes. At 
Liddes I met my mother and sisters returning from St. 
Pierre. They had not been able to accomplish their visit to 
St. Bernard, from their fatigue, and at St. Pierre I met my 
father returning from St. Bernard. When about half an 
hour's walk from the convent I was overtaken by a most 
violent hail storm, which drenched me completely and 
chilled me. I was very glad to accept the offer of some 
clothes from the monks, who came out most courteously to 
invite me in. I found three English gentlemen there, and a 
party of Piedmontese gentlemen and ladies. A very hand- 
some supper was served up at seven o'clock, and the monks 
made all feel themselves heartily welcome. The worst part 
of this magnificent institution appears to be the unwhole- 
someness of the situation. From its elevation the snow 
rests on it so long, and the walls are made so damp by the 
meltings in spring, that they are all subject to rheumatism, 
and it is only the youngest who can remain there at all. 
They have another convent at Martigny, which receives all 
the older monks for the remainder of their lives. Those, 
however, at the Great St. Bernard, seem to be a happy 
active set, and acquire, of course, a great deal of information, 
from conversing with travellers from all parts of Europe. 


In the time of the Romans there stood a temple of Jupiter 
where the convent now is, and a number of antiquities have 
been very recently dug up there. It is the opinion of the 
monks that Hannibal sent part of his army over here, for 
(supposing him to have crossed the Ehone at Lyons) he would 
have fallen in with a Roman station at Vevay, and would 
from thence of course have been able to learn this communi- 
cation with Italy. The convent is very far from a handsome 
pile, but the scenery round it is wild and savage, and re- 
minded me much of the Grimsel, for there is a lake here 
also. The St. Bernard dogs, so much celebrated for saving 
people in the snow, are fine handsome animals. 

August 12. — Having taken leave of the monks early, I 
set off in a thick mist, which prevented our seeing anything, 
in company with the three Englishmen, whom I found very 
gentlemanlike men. A rock of mica schist which overhangs 
Sembranchier is decomposing, and peeling in so alarming a 
manner, that they fear, when the rain follows this excessive 
heat, that the town will be demolished by an eboulement 
similar to that of the Rossberg. The guides assured us 
there were enormous cracks traversing parts of the mountain, 
which had only appeared within a few weeks. We returned 
to Martigny. 

August .13. — From Martigny we proceeded up Le Vallais, 
in the scenery of which I was much disappointed. We passed 
Sion ; the castle here on a hill is a striking object; when 
we came opposite to Leuk, I left the carriage, which pro- 
ceeded on to Turtman with the rest of the party. I had 
about nine miles to walk from Leuk to the baths where I 
slept, with the intention of rising very early next morning, 
and climbing the Gemmi. My walk was in dead silence, for 
the guide I procured at Leuk, to carry my sac de nuit, could 
speak nothing but German. I found it, however, by no 
means tedious, for this small valley is beautifully wooded 
with fir, and the moonlight was exceedingly bright. The 
Gemmi, from which I expected to enjoy a glorious view of 
all the highest Alps, was covered with clouds, and rain had 
been falling on it. I determined, therefore, to give up the 
expense and trouble of this arduous enterprise, and content 

VOL. I. H 

98 SIJi CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

myself with, seeing tlie baths. The company at these was 
not particularly numerous at this season, but it is a curious 
sight in the large room. I visited some of the smaller hot 
springs, and a small waterfall about half an hour's walk 
higher up tban the village. On my return I found my 
father, who had rode up there from Turtman, to which place 
we returned together, and joined the ladies, and went on in 
the carriage to Brieg. We passed at Visp the opening of a 
valley, down which conies an immense river from Monte 
Rosa and meets the Ehone. The barberry-bush, which grows 
abundantly wild here, is a beautiful shrub. 

August 15. — The first view we had of Brieg was singular, 
and rather picturesque, from the multitude of towers. A 
Jesuits' college is just re-establishing itself here. From 
Brieg we began to mount the Simplon, and were obliged to 
take eight horses throughout the ascent, which is, however 
quite unnecessary. In mounting one enjoys extensive views 
back into Le Vallais, but nothing very grand for Switzer- 
land. The descent, on the contrary, on the Italian side, was 
something new, and very magnificent. It is one of those 
valleys or deep ravines so common on the sides of smaller 
mountains in Scotland, but magnified to a size which makes 
it worthy of Monte Rosa. This road is a wonderful work of 
Napoleon's, and shows the skill- of the French eno-ineers. 
The labour of the galleries, which are blown with gunpowder 
through granite, must have been immense. This road now 
belongs to the government of Le Vallais, and must be 
valuable to them, since so many of their people are thus 
kept in employ, and paid by the numerous travellers, chiefly 
English. We paid, I think, 26 shillings at the barrier. The 
road cannot be in better order. We left Le Vallais at Isella 
and entered Piedmont, and went on to Domo d'Ossola. The 
difference of the Italian side of the Alps is as remarkable as 
that of the southern side of a garden waU. Houses and 
fruit-trees reach to an extraordinary height up the moun- 
tains, and the crops of tall maize and hemp make a great 
show in the valley. Domo d'Ossola is prettily situated. 
Here you take leave of the mountains, which are by no 
means finished by the descent from the Simplon. We never 
saw the very summit of Monte Eosa, because of the clouds 

i8l8. LAGO MAGGIORE. %^ 

but frpm what we did, I should conceive it not to be a grand 
mountain for its enormous height. 

Aiigust 16.1 — We were fortunate in entering Italy when 
the great heat had ceased, which we learned had been ex- 
cessive everywhere. We embarked on the Lago Maggiore 
at Feriola, and were rowed to Arona, having sent round the 
carriage, visited the Borromean Islands, which are so cele- 
brated, that all are disappointed with them. They would, 
however, be pretty enough, if the buildings on them were 
not so frightful. The large ugly palace on Isola Bella is so 
out of proportion, that the little islet looks as if it would 
sink to the bottom with its weight. In the interior, how- 
ever, it is a handsome nobleman's place. In the gardens 
here we saw a fine American aloe in flower, and two bays of 
extraordinary size. They both spring from the same root, 
are 105 feet in height, being nearly equal each, and 10 feet 
in circumference each, measured 5 feet from the ground. 
Arona we found a delightful little place. Near this we saw 
at a distance the colossal statue of San Carlo Borromeo. 
The Italian lakes are much more cheerful than those of 
Switzerland, from the quantity of houses, wood, and boats, 
which latter are sadly deficient on the Swiss lakes. 

August 17. — Went on to Sesto Calende, which stands at 
the end of the Lago Maggiore. Here the carriage crossed 
the Ticino, in a ferry boat, and we entered Lombardy. 
From thence to Milan is a richly cultivated country. The 
Indian com, of which the quantity is extraordinary, stands 
from ten to twelve feet high. The hemp is very tall, and 
the vines, which are festooned on low trees (chiefly mulberries 
I believe), form elegant partitions to the fields. The flat on 
which Milan stands is so dead, that you see scarcely any- 
thing of the town till you are in it. The avenues round it, 
made by the Trench, are planted chiefly with the Bignonla 
catalpa, a singular and elegant tree. The lines of pavement 
in the streets of Milan, for the wheels of carriages to run on, 
is a refinement which was new to us, and deserves imitation. 
It must save carriages amazingly, for they glide along with 
delightful ease and swiftness, and make no noise. We went 
to the Hotel d'ltalie. 

August 19. — Went to the Brera, once a convent, now 

H 2 


converted into a picture gallery. A valuable painting of 
Eaphael in his first style, and of Perugino his master. 
Attached to this is a small botanic garden, which has some 
good things in it. We then went to the amphitheatre which 
Buonaparte built, capable of containing 60,000 spectators, in 
which was exhibited chariot races, &c., and water could be 
introduced for the Naumachia. The Austrian soldiers now 
use it to learn to swim in. 

The famous fresco of Leonardo da Yinci, ' The Last 
Supper,' is still fine, much as it has suffered. The French 
made a stable of the room of the old convent which contains 
it, and the damp would shortly have destroyed it, had not 
Beauharnais heard of it. The triumphal arch of the Simplon 
is the finest work of Napoleon's I have seen. It is of 
beautiful white marble, and the sculpture and designs of the 
alto-relievos are fine. It stands, unfortunately, unfinished, 
though, had it not been so, the Austrians might perhaps 
have pulled it to the ground, since some fine friezes which 
were prepared related to Buonaparte's victories over them. 
The Emperor of Austria can feel no inclination to go on with 
this trophy, and the expense would be great, since what is 
prepared it would be unnatural and unpolite to erect. 

There is in a street of Milan a fine ancient colonnade of 
Huted pillars, said to have belonged to a palace of Nero's. 
There is another triumphal arch of Buonaparte's to com- 
memorate the battle of Marengo, which is not remarkable. 
The Austrians have erased his inscription, and in its stead 
have inscribed ' Paci Populorum Sospitse.' 

August 20. — We drove about the town of Milan over the 
delightful pavement of these streets. There are no very fine 
squares in the town, except the opening opposite the 
cathedral. The white marble loses much. of its effect, from 
the darkness of the bottom part, which has been long built, 
and beautiful as each of the numberless sculptured pinnacles 
are in themselves, the whole building is not grand. When you 
stand on the roof, the coup d'mil of the ranks of pinnacles, each 
bearing a statue, is very beautiful. From the top of the 
tower we had a fine view of the town, and the vast plain of 
Lombardy bounded by the Alps and the Apennines. The 
view of the mountains was not clear. 

i8i8. VERONA. 101 

We then went to the Mint. The merchants have just 
struck off many thousand gold coins with Na.poleon's 
head, dated 1814. The Ambrosian Library, which we 
visited, contains the Virgil of Petrarch, which it is said he 
wasted his time in writing himself. 

We went to the Opera in the evening, which is a much 
larger theatre than that in London, but much inferior in 
beauty. The dancing I thought superior to the music. 

August 21. — We paid a visit to the Observatory ; the air 
was clear, and Monte Eosa looked grand from his enormous 
height, though his outline was not good. It is a very near 
resemblance to the Blumlis Alp, as seen from Thun. 

I was interested in seeing through a telescope one of the 
spots on the sun. In the evening we went on to Brescia, 
through a richly cultivated plain, where irrigation was 
carried to beautiful perfection. Streams often crossed the 
road, which passed at right angles over others by small 

August 22. — Brescia is an immense place. We visited 
several churches, in which are some pictures by the old 
masters ; Titian, and others. 

We afterwards went on to Verona. The vines are 
beautifully festooned on the trees, and the grapes purple. 
The amphitheatre here was the grandest Roman antiquity I 
had ever seen. The marble of which the innumerable tiers 
of steps are built is uninjured. Fortunately, one small 
portion of the outer fagade still stands to point out its 
ancient height and magnificence. This enormous building 
serves now for a stage to mountebanks and conjurors, who 
when we entered were amusing a crowd, which seemed 
actually lost in one of the corners of this immense oval. 
Such sports may at first sight appear a degradation to this 
glorious relic, but what were those which once drew a Roman 
audience there ? 

I must not forget that between Brescia and Verona we 
passed the beautiful Jake of Garda, Virgil's Benacus, and 
the fortress of Peschiera. We only skirted the lake, but 
could we have gone up it, the scenery promised to be 
beautiful. It is not much inferior in size to any lake in 
Italy. There is a large Roman arch of triumph by which 


■\ve entered Verona. The antiquities are the principal 
magnificence of this large place. The Cathedral has nothing 
to recommend it but an Assumption of the Virgin by Titian. 
From Verona we went on through a country resembling a 
rich garden. The hedges even by the road- side sometimes 
festooned with vines, and besides the Indian corn, another 
enormous grass of similar growth and height, and even more 
handsome, is much grown. It yields a grain which they give 
to animals, and make brushes of the heads. They call it 
Sciorgo rosso {Hohus Sorghum^). We stopped some hours 
at Vicenza to admire the beautiful architecture displayed in 
the palaces and public buildings built by Palladio. Vicenza 
was his birthplace, and we were shown the house which he 
once inhabited. He has raised here to his memory a most 
interesting classic treasure : a theatre, taken from plans of 
Vitruvius, which may be considered as an exact model of 
what the ancients used for their theatrical exhibitions. 
Though a small model of an ancient theatre, it would be con- 
sidered a good-sized modern one, and strikes one immediately 
as extremely elegant and chaste in proportion and decorations. 

In some ot the churches here are pictures by masters of 
the Venetian School : Paul Veronese, Bassano, and Bellini. 
We afterwards went on to Padua. Passed some fields of 
rice, which before I had never heard was grown in Italy. 
It grew dark before we reached Padua, and I was delighted 
at seeing several (Fulgorew,) fire-flies, resting on the willows 
by the side of our road ; some were on the wing. Their light 
almo t rivalled that of our glow-worm, but only appears at 
intervals as they fly, the wings I suppose covering it each 
time they strike. 

August 24. — At Padua we walked to the Hall of Justice, 
an enormous but not handsome room. An inscription here 
reminded us that the great historian Livy was born here 
(Patavinse). Here we met again Sir J. Wrottesley and his 
sons, who were going on to Venice. They told us that the 
day before, a courier on his way from Milan to Venice with 
40,000 francs had been robbed near Brescia. A soldier who 
accompanied him as a guard was shot dead by the robbers, 
and he himself was nearly beaten to death. From Padua 

' MUlet. 

i8i8. VENICE. 103 

we travelled on to the sea-side and embarked at Fucina for 
Venice, in a boat wbich makes part of tbe regular post. 
The distant view we got from the lagunes, of Venice, made 
our hopes of its magnificence fall considerably, as did the 
entrance by a narrow street, but they were soon raised again 
to their full, on entering the Grand Canal. We were rowed 
up through crowds of gondolas to the Hotel Grand 

We arrived in good time at Venice, and went out the 
same evening in a gondola to St. Mark's Piazza. This beau- 
tiful square is not to my mind much ornamented by the 
great square tower. Being of red brick and with a green 
cap, and with a line of small apertures running unequally 
down one side, the effect of it is not in harmony with the 
beautiful regularity of the rest, however well in some pic- 
tures this is concealed and softened down by alterations of 
the colours. The form of St. Mark's, which is a copy of 
that of St. Sophia's at Constantinople, is very cheerful and 
gay, consisting of one large dome surrounded by four smaller 
ones. This closes beautifully one side of the piazza, and 
opposite to it is a new palace which Buonaparte built, having 
destroyed, to make room for it, a church and buildings which 
were before a more picturesque finish to that end of the 
square. This is a change much to be lamented. 

In the bronze horses of Lysippus which stand in front of 
the great dome of St. Mark's, being raised not too high to 
have a fine effect from below, I confess I was somewhat dis- 
appointed. The heads are fine certainly. It is the fcshion 
now to complain that these four steeds are thrown away, 
from being placed where they are not to be seen from their 
height, but travellers have only to take the small trouble of 
ascending by an easy staircase, and they may see them near. 
Le Place Petit St. Mark is also exceedingly beautiful, and 
gay from the crowds of gondolas, and the fine width of the 
Jews' Canal, and the churches and buildings which come in 
view there. La Douane, St. Mark, and St. Giorgio were 
conspicuous. There was a true Italian glow in the sky, 
which gave a colour to the buildings highly favourable. But 
if this scene is now so fine, what must it have been when 
Venice could boast the empire of the sea, and saw at this 

104 . S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

spot vessels from every country of Europe pour in com- 

August 25. — Fi-om our windows we had a delightful 
view of the Rialto and the Great Canal. Early in the morn- 
ing it was very beautiful to see the boat-loads of fruit, par- 
ticularly of the most immense pumpkins, each single one 
almost too heavy to be lifted. The gondoliers stand univer- 
sally as they row, as is the custom on the Italian lakes and 
some of the Swiss. This practice gives astonishing life to 
the scene, and the motion is remarkably elegant. 

We went out in good time, and visited many of their 
splendid churches. In the Chiesa dei Gesuiti (Santa Maria 
del Rosario) the altar is ornamented with small pillars of 
lapis lazuli of great value, built b}^ Marsari. The architecture 
is very chaste and elegant both within and without. We 
next saw the Chiesa del Redentore ; then to the large church 
of Santa Maria della Salute. In this, three very fine speci- 
mens of Giordano's are to be seen, three large pictures repre- 
senting the Nativity, Presentation, and Assumption of the 
Virgin. We then saw the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, 
and from thence to St. Mark's Piazza. Here we entered the 
Doge's Palace. 

The room of the Grand Council must fill every one with 
vast ideas of the ancient power and magnificence of this 
Republic. Of great size, yet elegant proportion, the ceiling 
rich with gold and innumerable paintings by Giulio Romano. 
Statues down the middle of the apartment, and at the sides 
large and grand works of the two Bassanos. At the end 
where you enter is an enormous Paradise of Tintoret, con- 
taining a truly innumerable quantity of figures, yet so 
arranged as to produce a good efifect. This is the largest 
painting in oils, they told us, in Italy. We entered after- 
wards St. Mark's Church ; the whole ceiling there, of the 
five domes, is in mosaic, and executed after the designs of 
some of the first masters of the Venetian school. The pave- 
ment, which is done something in the same way, has large 
hollows in it in some parts, and is very uneven, the piles on 
which its whole weight is supported having given way here 
and there. We went up, after admiring the riches of the 
altar, to the gallery, where we saw close the horses of 

i8i8. LOP^D BYRON. 105 

Lysippus, and had a view down into the sqnare. In this 
church are several trophies brought both from Jerusalem 
and Constantinople after the Crusades ; pillars, statues, &c. 
In the evening went out to see the most wealthy of all the 
churches we had yet seen : Santa Theresa, built by eight 
noble Venetian families ; there are in it six most magnifi- 
cent altars, rich with rare marbles, precious stones, &c. &c. 

On our vfay to this church we passed under the Eialto ; 
it is an exceedingly fine arch, but the shops upon it cer- 
tainly injure the effect much. All the fine things of Venice 
lie very commodiously near one another, at least the rapidity 
of the gondolas makes them appear so. It was growing late, 
but we determined on visiting the gardens which the French 
made ; the only thing of the kind in Venice. They pulled 
down a church and several convents and other buildings, the 
ruins of which raised the soil higher than almost any other 
point in Venice ; on this they planted avenues of trees, and 
made handsome walks, which are laid out certainly with 
taste, and in a good style, and look already very handsome. 

In our way to this we passed Lord Byron's gondola, who 
was returning from the Lido, a small narrow strip of land 
which is near to the continent, and faces Venice. It is an 
island, and the only place near Venice where a ride can be 
obtained. On this Lord Byron has built stables, and keeps 
a stud of six horses. After breakfasting at ten o'clock, he 
is rowed in his gondola regularly almost every day to this 
island, where he rides six miles out and six back again. He 
then returns — -is generally alone in these excursions. His 
residence was in one of the old palaces not far from our 

August 26. — We visited a most superb room built by a 
fraternity of merchants in Venice, in which all the pictures 
were by Tintoret, many exceedingly beautiful. The effect of 
this hall is very striking, and impresses one with the riches 
which commerce can give the smallest state, and at the same 
time with considerable admiration, that the taste of men 
employed so much in business should have risen so much 
beyond what is usual in such persons. 

After returning to our hotel and dining, we again took a 
gondola, and went to see 'The Martyrdom of St. Peter,' 

106 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

Titian's clief d'ceuvre* in the eyes of artists, at the church 
of St. Jean et Paul. As the evening was delightfully mild, 
we made them row us all round the large naval arsenal, 
from which once were launched such powerful fleets, and 
round the new garden, thus making a complete circuit of 
that side of Venice. 

We spent almost the whole morning in the magnificent 
gallery of pictures belonging to Count Manfrini, in the 
Manfrini Palace. This it seems is the most splendid collec- 
tion in the possession of any individual at this time in Italy, 
made by the late Count, since the French Revolution ; a man 
who rose by farming tobacco at an immense extent, from 
beggarism to enormous afiluence. He purchased a title, 
^Yllich is easily procured by money at Venice, and had the 
taste to select a most choice set of specimens of almost all 
the great masters. To study these would have required 
weeks of course, but the things which made the chief im- 
pression upon me during the few hours we were there, were 
a Queen of Cyprus by Titian, a very beautiful portrait, and 
a portrait of a man by Rembrandt, the most astonishing 
production I ever saw of his. 

After spending the morning here we left Venice, and 
after crossing the water, went on to Padua. In this town 
we had before left much unseen. Everyone should visit the 
church of St. Antoine here. It is most extraordinary that 
of the sculptures in relievo in the chapel of the patron 
saint, in which the different miracles are represented, no 
less than four were raising from the dead ; so that in this, the 
farthest stretch of miraculous power in suspending the laws 
of nature, they believe St. Anthony to have done more than 
is recorded of Christ himself. 

The chapel of this saint is full of votive pictures which 
attest miracles performed since his death. While we were 
looking at one of the offerings, our cicerone, a man who be- 
longed to the church, said, ' This, sir, is a miracle I saw with 
my own eyes ; the child had a deformed leg, and upon the 
mother praying earnestly at the shrine of St. Anthony, it 
was restored to her whole as the other.' 

From the manner in which the man related this, it ap- 
* Since destroyed by fire. 

i8i8. PADUA. 107 

peared to me that he believed what he was saying, to such 
an extent does their superstition extend ! The greater part 
however of the votive tablets relate not to miracles, but 
providential escapes from imminent dangers. As all these 
are most religiously attributed to the guardian saint, it is 
easy to perceive how perpetually his influence is kept alive. 
But everyone who has looked over in a cursoiy manner the 
collections of votive tablets which in almost every church 
he meets with, must be struck at the vast proportion which 
h&ing run over hy carriages bears among the accidents. The 
careless and extremely swift pace which is so much the 
fashion here in driving through towns, and the great number 
of carriages, easily account for this. 

The Botanic Garden here is worth visiting, as indeed 
must every Botanic Garden be in Italy, where our green- 
house and hot-house plants flourish as if in their native 
climate, though in winter here they are obliged to protect 
them most carefully from the severe cold. A fine sugar- 
cane here was interesting, and an immense fan-palm tree, 
which the gardener informed me, to my great surprise, is 
wild in Spain ; also fine Banyan trees, Laurus camphora, &c. 

August 28. — From Padua we proceeded on to Ferrara, 
through a vast plain. The castle and fortifications of Mon- 
selice make a show in this flat country, standing on a small 
rising. Near Rovigo we crossed the Adige in a ferry boat, 
by which the carriage also was transported. This river, as 
indeed are most of those both small and great in this plain, 
is of a most formidable height above the plain. The depo- 
sition of earth which they bring from the mountains raising 
their beds continually, and the inhabitants being obliged to 
bank them in strongly for fear of a deluge. 

In the plain of Lombardy there is a remarkable scarcity 
of houses between the great towns ; indeed one never sees a 
building, and wonders where the farmer's necessary oflBces 
are in so richly cultivated a country. In return for this, 
towns of immense size are met with at every step. Ferrara 
is one of them, and of 22,000(?) inhabitants, yet covers more 
ground even than is necessary for this, from the porticoes 
on each side of nearly all the streets. We visited the Cathe- 
dral here, and afterwards the Library, in which is the tomb 


of Ariosto, who was a native of this town. The inscription 
consists of some common-place complimentary Latin verses. 

Troni Ferrara to Bologna is a continuation of the same 
dead flat which we had been on ever since we entered Italy, 
but here we in a great measure lost its amazing fertility. 
We were delighted while dining at the inn with some street 
music, which was a great treat. The band consisted of 
seven blind men, who had all studied in the South of Italy, 
though they were originally from Bologna. There were 
violins, violoncello, clarionet, &c. &c., and also a respectable 
female singer, wife to one of them, who relieved the instru- 
mental performance now and then. It is their custom to 
play always on the arrival of any English at dinner every 

Some of the finest works of the great masters of the school 
of Bologna have been lately restored to their native town 
from the Louvre. They do not mean to attempt to replace 
them in their former stations, but are putting them up in a 
large public room, in which I think they will stand certainly 
a better chance of being seen well than in most churches, 
where huge candles, &c. are posted before them. But we 
were in luck to arrive there before this new arrangement 
was quite finished, since most of these immense works were 
on the ground, resting against the wall, by which means we 
saw them at whatever distance we chose ; whereas I fear 
some few of them will by-and-by be lifted up m.uch too 
high. In a grand picture of Domenichino's, ' The Massacre 
of the Christians by the Albigenses,' some of the female 
heads delighted me exceedingly, but the painter, to preserve 
their beauty, has certainly suppressed all the horror which 
they ought to be feeling. 

August 30. — We hired a caleche and drove about the 
town to the different palaces. At Casa Eatta was the 
famous Sybil of Domenichino's, a spirited head. This is to 
be sold, as are many of the fine things in private collections. 
Some have been already bought at great prices by the Eng- 
lish, and have left this town. There is great appearance of 
poverty in Casa Eatta. 

August 31. — We left Bologna and began to mount 
the Apennines. The view back upon the town was not 

i8i8. BOLOGNA. 109 

SO fine as one we had enjoyed the evening before from a 
small rising on which stands the prison. It must however 
always be a fine object, and the hanging (or leaning) towers 
a most singular feature. As soon as we began to ascend, 
they harnessed on four oxen before our four horses, which 
was to us a perfectly new style. We crossed a river soon 
after Bologna, which is very destructive sometimes, but in a 
valley which we looked down into on our right hand during 
most of the ascent, we saw the Eeno, the most desolating 
stream I ever saw, though the waste of land here is I have 
no doubt owing to the crumbling and decomposing nature 
of the sandstone of which the mountains here are composed, 
and from which accident they give a very peculiar and 
extraordinary character to the scenery on this side of the 
Apennines. For the superstratum of the soil has been com- 
pletely washed away, and no vegetation remains excepting 
the trees, which are abundant ; between these is seen the 
white bare sand, and here and there a larger space perfectly 
white, so that the surface as far as the horizon both ways is 
chequered with green and white. 

After mounting some miles, we had a very extensive 
view back on the vast plain we had left, which seemed as 
level as the ocean, and indeed is very nearly so. They say 
moreover' that from hence on a clear day one can discern 
the sea in the distance, but this I should think without a 
telescope must be always impossible. We saw on all sides 
very extensive forests of sweet chestnuts, which from its 
foliage, and the contrast in the colour of the fruit, which 
was in profusion, was a very picturesque tree. 

As soon as we left the sandstone, and came upon the 
limestone hills, the curious character of the scenery ceased. 
We entered Tuscany; the officers of the Douane, quieted by 
a fee, let us pass unmolested, as they will everywhere in 
Italy. We proceeded on to Coviliajo, a small town where 
we slept, having passed a volcanic fire which proceeds from 
a mountain a few miles from here, intending to visit it at 
leisure on our return over these mountains. 

September 1. — The rocks about Coviliajo are principally 
basaltic, which agrees well with the volcanic fire in this 
neighbourhood ; indeed the steep whin clifi"s which here and 

110 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. iv. 

there burst up strike the eye immediately as not belonging 
to the tame limestone hills which form the chief character 
of the chain, 

Throughout the first part of the day the scenerj- was 
wild and picturesque ; on descending the Florence side, it 
became rich and fertile : the hills covered with the sweet 
chestnut, vines, and quantities of olives ; the gardens full of 
standard peaches, &c. ; the grounds about the numerous 
country-seats abounding in the cypress and the Pinus pinea. 
All these, with a clear sky glowing with heat, presented for 
the first time to our eyes a characteristic Italian landscape. 

The entrance to Florence is fine, from the public walks 
and triumphal arch. We drove to Sneider's Hotel, which is 
famed as being the first in Europe. Its situation and magni- 
ficence, joiaed to the real comfort in it, entitle it to its repu- 
tation. It is nearly monopolised by English families all the 

September 2. — The attacks made upon the rich purses of 
the English, of which foreigners have certainly formed vast 
ideas, are almost more numerous at Florence than at Paris. 
The first thing in the morning, at breakfast, arrived a letter 
celebrating both in verse and prose, both in English, Italian, 
and French, 'the auspicious arrival of Sir Lyell and his 
illustrious family.' After celebrating the wealth and naval 
power of England, the poet hoped ' to share in the fruits of 
the unbounded generosity of the English.' All the produc- 
tion was execrably bad, and we were sorry to find, when the 
author called in person, that he was too old to be amusing 
as a fool. We made him however recite to us the verses, of 
the merit of which he entertained evidently very different 
opinions from us. 

After this son of Apollo, came a statuary with alabaster 
figures ; then a sort of gentleman-beggar with elegant 
bouquets of flowers, with which he begged to present the 
ladies ; then a print-seller, which finished the morning's 
assault, at least as far as we know, for we drove out to the 
Pitti Palace, belonging to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Here 
there is a magnificent gallery of pictures. The first that 
arrested our attention, were two large landscapes by Eubens, 
of great beauty. The first they called ' Going to Market/ 

i8i8. FLORENCE. Ill 

the second ' a View in some Part of Spain,' in wMcli tlie 
bright gleams of sunshine and dark shade, so often seen in 
nature, when in the day-time there is a high wind and 
many clouds, was expressed very finely. There was a picture 
of Michael Angelo, ' The three Fates,' which 1 did not think 
anything surprising. The celebrated ' Vierge a la Chaise ' 
of Raphael has been newly framed, and a glass put over it. 
We stopped some time to admire two other grand productions 
of Raphael, the portrait of Pope Julius II., and St. Catharine 
and Holy Family. The suite of rooms in this Palace, now 
the residence of the present Grand Duke, brother to the 
Emperor of Austria, is very princely, and in high pre- 

After satiating 'our eyes with pictures, we went to the 
Great Gallery of Medicis, where we might study some of the 
first statues of antiquity. In the Salle de Mobe, to begin 
with herself, I thought the grief in her countenance, though 
not perhaps equal to what it would be in nature, yet greater 
than I ever saw in any statue or picture. 

As a gToup, the efiiect is much lessened I thought by 
Niobe's being colossal and her daughter of the natural size. 
The statues of her sons and daughters which were round the 
room are some inferior, but one or two of them exquisite. 

From this room we went into the Tribune, an apartment 
where all the most precious morsels both of painting and 
sculpture are collected together. Here stands once more 
the celebrated Venus de Medici, and it equalled all my ex- 
pectations, which I am well aware it does to few. It appears 
to me that in statuary those who know nothing of the art 
are much better able to enter fully into the merits of the 
first works in it than they can in painting. 

[Here the journal ceases, for the note-book containing the 
remainder is supposed to be one which was lost at Florence.] 

112 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. v. 


SEPTEMBER 1820 JtTLT 1823. 


[In 1819 Mr. Lyell took the degree of B.A., obtaining a second 
class in classical honours. He became M.A. in 1821. In March 
1819 he became a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, and 
also of the Linnsean Society. 

After leaving Oxford he was entered at Lincoln's Inn, and resided 
in London, and studied law in a special pleader's office (Pattison's). His 
eyes, however, became very weak, and he was recommended to desist 
from reading for a time, and to join his father in a tour abroad as far 
as Rome in the autumn of 1820 ; he had then no time to devote to 
geolog}', as they were busy seeing the towns, pictures, and natural 

In 1822 he made an excursion to Winchelsea for the purpose of 
inspecting Eomney Marsh, an extensive tract of land, from which the 
sea has retired within comparatively recent times.] 

To His Sistee. 

Home : September 28, 1820. 
Dear Marianne, — You will expect me to be very fall in 
writing to you from this city. I must tell you, however, 
that there is only one thing which has gone very far beyond 
my expectations, and that is the statues of the Vatican. I 
had no idea that half so many exquisite productions of 
Greece and Rome were still in existence. Mathews, in the 

i820. ROME. lla 

' Diary of an Invalid,' says that you must not look for beauty 
in the remains of antiquity in Italy, for none of the ruins 
here are so picturesque as those of our own Gothic abbeys in 
England. This is most true ; but he goes on to say, it is 
from the great names they are connected with that they 
become more interesting than ours. Here I must differ from 
him, for if they contiiu so little now to admire in them, how 
can they assist our imagination? I always had a grand idea 
when reading the classics of what the Roman Forum and 
Capitol once were, but now I shall always find great diffi- 
culty after seeing what it now is to raise again half so good 
a picture in my mind. The Forum now is about half the 
size of Grosvenor Square, the surface uneven from large 
mounds of earth thrown up from excavations, and looking 
like large dung- middens overgrown with weeds. Down the 
centre is a double row of half -starved, shabby elm trees ; 
round it the celebrated arches of Septimus, Titus, and Con- 
stantine, each standing more than knee-deep in a large pit ! 
for the soil has risen everywhere at Rome in an almost un- 
accountable manner, sometimes 40 feet from the ruins of 
buildings shaken down by earthquakes, and, before an ancient 
arch or pillar can be shown, a gulf must be made round it. 
At almost every ancient relic I have had to say ' Amen ' to 
Forsyth's exclamation, ' Those lying engravers ! ' The 
Colosseum, however, from its immensity defies exaggeration. 
As for the seven hills of Eome they have been swallowed up 
by earthquakes I suppose, for Ludgate Hill would match any 
of them that remain. The Romans used brick for their 
finest buildings, and then covered walls 20 or 30 feet thick 
with a facing of stones. These stones have been stolen for 
the palaces of modern Rome, and huge shapeless mountains 
of brick and mortar remain everywhere with high-sounding 
names, to give the lie to Piranesi's engravings, and to make 
the poets and historians of ancient Rome appear almost 
ridiculous. Tet, after all, there is still enough among all 
this wreck, when it is carefully considered, to prove what 
Rome once was, and how she surpassed all that now is in 
architectural magnificence. The Belvedere Apollo, Michael 
Angelo's Moses, Canova's studio, and the Dying Gladiator, 
have more than equalled my expectations. We are to leave 

VOL. I. I 



this in a day or two, for the seeing Naples is out of the 
question. I should not go there at present if here alone. 
Tor when the late disturbances took place at Palermo, all the 
English were informed that they were prisoners. None were 
molested, and all are now free, but God knows how soon a 
fracas at Naples might end, and it would be most tantalising 
to be shut up in a lodging, and not even allowed to witness 
the row. They are making very free with their favourite 
weapon the stiletto, and six or seven leading men are got rid 
of every night by those of the four different parties. General 
Church would be torn to pieces but for a guard of soldiers, 
and a threat of our ambassador's, that if a hair of his head 
is touched England will avenge it. The English have fled 
nearly to a man. Every peasant has become a soldier to 
support their polUical opinions in Parliament, which meets 
on October 1 . Add to this 400,000 Austrians are expected 
there, whom they hate, and who surely can have nothing to 
do there, even if invited by one party. These Germans 
must in their way pass through the Pope's territories, where 
they are so much detested that they will not, I expect, add 
much to their tranquillity. All may blow over, but were we 
to wait till we saw the event, the Alps would become 
impassable first, and it is my father's intention to recross 
them before we shall have any chance of rivalling Hannibal. 
Mount Leonessa, the highest Apennine seen from here, was 
completely covered with snow on Saturday last, when we 
took a grand view of ancient and modern Rome from the 
tower of the Capitol. This snow has now melted, but it 
proves how early winter may come in the higher regions. 
My love to all. Your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq.' 

29 Norfolk Street, Strand : February 8, 1822. 
My dear Sir, — Though I was detained late in the country, 
I found you had not yet arrived with your book, but I still 
thought I should see you at our Annual Geological dinner. 

' Dr. Mantell, F.B.S., author of Medals of Creation, Wondert of Geo- 
loqy, &o. 


I now begin to despair, or rather to hope that your profes- 
sional practice has increased so much beyond your expecta- 
tion, that you find it impossible to leave Lewes. Of the 
collection which came quite safe in ten days, I can only say 
that I trust among so many valuable and interesting speci- 
mens you have not robbed your own of any which it might 
have been more advantageous for science that you had 
retained. The Professors of Cambridge and Oxford were 
present at our dinner, and Buckland was called upon to 
explain the vast quantities of bones which he found in the 
summer, in a cave at Kirkdale in Yorkshire, of which he had 
a large bagful with him : innumerable jaws of hysenas, teeth 
of elephant, rhinoceros, &c., unmineralised like those ia the 
limestone caves in Germany full of bears. He produced 
some light balls or pellets, which he said he brought to town 
at first doubting what they could be. Dr. Wollaston '' (I think) 
first pronounced they were like some calculi sometimes found 
in some species of Canis. Upon being taken to Exeter 
Change by Dr. Fitton,' the man there recognised the pro- 
duction, and exclaimed, ' Ah, that is the dung of our hyaena ! ' 
On analysing it they find it composed of carbonate and 
phosphate of lime, the same as hysena's dung, which being 
an animal, it seems, of an ossiphagous appetite, has always 
its dung proportionately more ossified than any other. 
Buckland, in his usual style, enlarged on the marvel with 
such a strange mixture of the humorous and the serious, 
that we could none of us discern how far he believed himself 
what he said. 

The researches I made at Christmas were, I am afraid, 
sufiicient to prove that I must give up my hopes of discover- 
ing the Isle of Wight fresh-water formations in our part of 
Hants, but the shells are not yet come to town which will 
enable Webster to decide. 

Believe me most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

2 Dr. William Hyde Wollaston, natural philosopher, b. 1766, d. 1828. 

" Dr. W. H. Fitton, b. 1780, d. 1861, an early member of the Geological 
Society, contributed many papers, and clearly defined the position and cha- 
racter of the Green-sands as separated by the Gault. 

I 2 

116 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. v. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

29 Norfolk Street : April 11, 1822. 

I fear you may think I liave but little motive for trou- 
bling you witb a letter, since it is no other than to inform 
you that I am to-day setting out for Winchelsea, where I 
shall pass nearly a week with a friend, who will leave me 
ample time for geologising if 1 can find a field for such 
operations, and for myself I have little doubt of this, since 
the country is so entirely terra-incognita to me ; but can you 
not also make me useful to you in ascertaining any fact or 
procuring any specimens ? In several short expeditions 
which I have made into Surrey 1 have examined veiy care- 
fully the junction of the chalk with the beds below, about 
Eeigate, Dorking, and Guildford. I have brought specimens 
from what Webster would have us call the ferruginous sand, 
exactly like some brought from the green-sand of other parts, 
which certainly creates a great difBculty, but still there 
seem to me only partial beds in that which we should 
decidedly call iron sand in any other place, and I still thiak 
that if we were determined to name beds by analogy to 
those of which Webster first drew the line in the Isle of 
Wight, we should be obliged to pronounce that the green- 
sand is wholly wanting at Guildford, and Greenough seems 
clearly to entertain great doubts on this head himself, but 
when I have worked more eastwards in Kent I shall be 
better able to form an opinion. 

Since you were here, there came up from Stonesfield to 
the Geological Society a most enormous bone of some great 
unknown animal, and Clift pronounced it new, but finds it 
belongs to the same animal as one which some time since 
was sent from the neighbourhood of Cuckjietd ! Would it 
not form a strange addition to the wonderful coincidence 
already discovered by you, between your beds and those of 
Stonesfield, if an immense new animal should at the same 
time be found in each ? This animal, they say, must be as 
large as an elephant, but I cannot learn of what kind they 

Tours very truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

i822. ROMNEY MARSH. 117 

To His Father. 

"Winchelsea ; April 16, 1822. 

My dear Father, — I Lad alwaj's intended to appropriate 
the first rainy day to the transmitting to Bartley a narrative 
of my adventures in these distant parts, but the weather has 
proved so fortunate that this is the first opportunity vrhicli 
has occurred. My journey through Kent by Sevenoats, 
Tunbridge, and Rye was so stormy that I saw little of the 
scenery, but I should think the view from Madam's Court 
Hill near Sevenoaks must surpass all the rest. This is a 
most picturesque and delightful spot, and the sea-beach and 
the marshes, the cliffs and fine old ruins, have entertained 
me so much, that I could stay a much longer time here 
alone, and not feel a moment's ennui. Among other things 
I have found the Hastings and Battle limestone rock, with 
its peculiar fossils in the cliff of that isolated hill on which 
this borough stands, which I believe is the most eastern- 
most point in which it ha,s been seen, and I hope will settle 
Mantell's doubts about its position, as I have here found in 
the perpendicular cliff the bed of sandstone which is above 
and below it. The destructive incursions of the sea at 
different periods all along the coast afford very copious and 
curious matter of observation as well as of speculation. I 
took advantage yesterday of a light cart, the only convey- 
ance about here, to go through a great part of that wonderful 
place Eomney Marsh, now richly studded with ewes and 
lambs. It set me down within two and a half miles of Lj^dd, 
where I called on my fellow- collegian Denne. I did not 
find him at home, but on my way back I met him. He 
holds in bis own hands 900 acres of the marsh ! on which he 
observed I might easily conceive how much capital he might 
soon sink in these times, and much he has sunk. All the 
old families of Kent nearly have had or have some property 
here, but have cut the marsh as soon as their wealth would 
permit them. Denne is without society, but as they have 
elected him every year head magistrate of their jurisdiction, 
and as he is justice of the county, he says he has employ- 
ment enough to render him independent of it. Perhaps you 
would think 900 acres might do so alone. Their house is 

118 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap; v. 

just in the town and is good enough for any gentleman, but 
the back-door opening into the farmyard betrays the pre- 
decessor to have been the farmer turned gentleman, not the 
gentleman turned farmer. How short and direct is the 
road through Eton and Oxford from the grazier on Romney 
Marsh to the fine gentleman ? or, to speak plainly, to the real 
gentleman in ideas, manners, and information. His uncle, 
Mr. Cobb, has just let a good deal of the marsh, a few 
months since, at 3Z., 41., and not a little at 51. 10s. per acre ! 
but the latter in small lots, and near the town, and then 
thought extravagantly high. 

The sudden suppression of all smuggling at Lydd, Eye, 
this town and numerous others, threw more than half the 
population on the poor rates, and has made bankrupts of the 
tenants on many a large estate, and quite ruined some of 
their ports. Either the having permitted such license for 
ages, or the sudden stopping of an ancient source of gain, is 
unpardonable ; for there is all the misery felfc here which 
can possibly follow the total failure of a great manufactory. 
The harbour at Rye is filling fast, and will be soon added in 
spite of their exertions to the marsh, by the same causes 
which formed the latter ; and though these are so evident, 
the people here, and old histories, and even my friend Denne, 
believe the idle story of its total formation during one storm. 
Had the sea retired suddenly it would have left nothing but 
shingle as at Winchelsea, and had our ancestors been as 
greedy in walling out the sea as this generation before it 
has half coated the shingle, there would be no acre worth 
11. per annum in all. I like the lodging here, and the old 
woman, who has only 3s. 6d. a weeJc of her own, and 6d. wages 
to support herself and a daughter of near seventeen, which, 
though lodging, coal, and a small garden arefoundher,isabare 
existence, and does not keep off the ague which is brought 
by the sea-breeze from Romney Marsh, and though it does 
not injure Lydd or Romney, does great havoc here and at 
Rye. This old woman, and she tells me others here, cannot 
afford to drink a drop of beer, while those who are not too 
proud to go to the poor rates live in comparative luxury. 

Ever yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

i822. WINCHELSEA. 119 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

29 Norfolk Street: April 19, 1822. 

My dear Sir, — Although I did not leave Winehelsea until 
the 16th yet your letter did not reach me there but has 
followed me to town. Had I received it in time I might 
better have deserved the crown which you held up to my 
ambition, for I had no sooner begun my examination of the 
cliff there than I found myself in the midst of the limestone 
beds, with every character of strict identity with those of 
Battle and Hastings, particularly that gloss of rather the 
felspar appearance which you know marks it, and in which 
Webster was one day pointing out to me it closely resem- 
bles the crystallised part of the Tontainebleau rock — and no 
doubt it is owing to incipient crystallisation. The present 
town of Winehelsea is situated on a rock which projects 
like an island from the alluvial ma,rsh-land which surrounds 
it, and which was once at no ancient date flooded by the 
sea ; it presents a cliff more or less high towards every point 
of the compass. Close to the roadside, near the ancient 
gate which leads to Eye, is a quarry which affords a most 
satisfactory section of part of the rock. At the top is sand 
and sandstone, not much indurated nor highly ferruginous ; 
then comes immediately under, and distinct from it, with 
not the least passage from the one to the other, a bed of the 
limestone, very hard and silicious, 5 foot thick ; beneath this 
comes the sand again, of what thickness I could not ascer- 
tain. So much for the quarry which ends at the level of the 
road ; but lower down the cliff appears another bed of the 
limestone, which must be far below the former, and proves 
therefore the alternation. The flat slabs of the limestone 
when weather-worn afford generally casts of innumerable 

small bivalves, of ( ) this size (perhaps cardiums), and so 

does the sandstone exactly the same. In a walk of four or 
five miles along the high cliffs between Winehelsea and 
Fairlight cliff, I could see none of the limestone in the fer- 
ruginous sand, but I would have made more particular 
search had I known you had not been there. 

What little I could see of the Weald clay makes me 

120 SIJ? CHARLES LYELL. chap. v. 

tMnk it quite subordinate to the ferruginous sand, and to 
doubt more than ever its answering in position to the Pet- 
worth clay of Buckland's syllabus. 

Buckland has received from the Yorkshire Cave the 
bones of the weazel, the rabbit, the pigeon, and I believe 
one other bird in a beautiful state of preservation, and 
which are being drawn for the R.S. 

Do not fear any poachers on your Sussex preserve. I 
wish I could see so much activity as to give cause of fear. 
At our meeting this evening I will not fail to introduce 
your prospectus, and nothing will give me greater pleasure 
than to take the first opportunity of paying you a visit. 
Yours truly, 

Charles Ltbll. 

[In 1823 Mr. Lyell was elected Secretary of the Geological Society, 
and made excursions to Sussex and to the Isle of Wight, the results 
of which were not published till Dr. Mantell, in his ' Geology of 
the Isle of Wight,' 1847, gave extracts from Mr. Lyell's letters, 
dated June 1823, which showed that he had cleared up some of 
the obscurity in which the relations of the Lower Green-sand and 
Wealden strata were then involved. His first geological paper 
on the geology of some rivers near his native place in Forfar- 
shire was read this year to the Society. About this time he 
made more than one visit to Paris, and became acquainted with 
Cuvier, Alexander Brongniart, Alexander Humboldt, Constant 
Provost, &c.] 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

29 Norfolk Street : June 11, 1823. 

My expedition to the Isle of Wight has very much con- 
firmed the views which I before entertained of the geology 
of Sussex. Professor Buckland, who was of the party, 
though he did not altogether give in to a theory which he 
admitted was new to him, was still clearly surprised, when I 
pointed out to him the fact that there was everywhere in the 
Isle of Wight beds of sand below Webster's blue marl 
greener than those above. You are aware that Webster 
never found in his blue m.arl any fossils except two Ammo- 
nites. At Compton Chine, however, I found several small 

1823. ISLE OF WIGHT. 121 

Inocerami {I. sulcatus, I believe), and, althougli I was only 
there five minutes, I saw so many fragments of shells in 
this same blue marl that I am inclined to believe the iden- 
tity of this bed with the blue marl of Folkestone and the 
Gault might be made out by a further search for the 
organic remains which it contains. 

The section from Compton Chine to Broolc is superb, 
and we see there at one view the whole geology of your 
part of the world, from the chalk with flints down to the 
Battle beds, all within an hour's walk, and yet neither are 
any of the beds absent, nor do I believe they are of less 
thickness than with you. This is so beautiful a key, that 
I should have been at a loss to conceive how so much 
blundering could have arisen if I had not witnessed the 
hurried manner in which Buckland galloped over the ground. 
He would have entirely overlooked the Weald clay if I 
had not taken him back to see it. 

This clay, however, is only partly exposed, the softness 
of it having caused a ruin of the cliff, just at the point 
where the Petworth marble ought to be looked for. Soon 
after this sandstone containing layers of limestone with 
bivalves appears, then some mottled beds purple and white, 
then Pyritous coal like that at Bex Hill I suppose. The 
white sands of Winchelsea and Fairlight are magnificently 
exposed, &c. &c. I staid a day longer than the rest of the 
party, for the purpose of searching in the Weald clay of the 
Culver cliffs section for Petworth marble, but the cliff is 
there also in ruin ; T found, however, a rounded block of it 
two feet or more in diameter on the sea-shore, nearly oppo- 
site the Weald clay, specimens from which I have brought 
to town, some of which are at your service, with many 
specimens from the Presh-water formations which I collected 
for you, and will send you when I have more leisure to pack 
them up. Almost the whole of the back of the Isle of 
Wight is in such a dreadful state of ruin, that I believe it 
has been the cause of much of that confusion which has 
found its way into the heads of some of our geologists with 
regard to your Sussex beds, and some of those very same 
geologists whom I have heard ridicule De Luc for suppos- 
ing he had there discovered chalk beneath the green-saud. 

122 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. v. 

You will be very glad to hear that Mr. Warburton,^ on 
whose accuracy above all men we may rely, says that above 
the Gault in Cambridgeshire green-sand occurs, as well as 
below it ; this upper green-sand, as well as the firestone of 
Eeigate, he chooses to consider as part of the lower chalk. 
Yet both he and Dr. Fitton choose to call the beds at 
Beechy Head green-sand, supposing it to belong to that 
which is below the Gault. In this they are completely mis- 
taken. I am going to Paris towards the end of this month ; 
if you wish to send any presents of books or anything to 
anyone I shall be very happy to be the bearer of them; 
indeed it will be of advantage to me, as affording me some 
introduction to the donees, and, as this visit of mine is prin- 
cipally to perfect myself in the language, I court every- 
thing which brings me iu contact with Frenchmen. I like 
De Beaumont much. Yours very truly, 

Charles Ltell, 

To His Father. 

London : Jnne 21, 1823. 

My dear Father, — I am fortified with most excellent 
letters of introduction from Buckland, Greenough, Grey 
Bennett, Professor Brochart, Dr. Fitton, Webbe and Lambert, 
&c. — to Humboldt,^ Cuvier,^ Brongniart, Cordier, Duvan, 
Prevost, Lefroy, Eoyer, &c. Buckland has also made me 
the bearer of presents of his new work to many of the above, 
and I have sets of specimens of my Scotch and Isle of Wight 
rocks to give away. 

We had a very full meeting of the Geological last night ; 
many foreigners at our club dinner, who were very entertain- 
ing. Professor Oersted, of Copenhagen, pronounced the 
following eulogium of our scientific dinners of which, as it 
was spoken in English, you may imagine the ludicrous effect. 
' Your public dinners, gentlemen, I do love, they are a sort of 

■* Henry Warburton, one of the founders of tbe Geological Sooiety of 
London in 1807. 

' Alexander von Humboldt, eminent naturalist and philosopher, b. 1769, 
d. 1859. 

« George Cuvier, comparative anatomist, b. 1769, d. 1832; 

1823. PARIS. 123 

sacrament, in wMcli you do beautifully blend the spiritual 
and the corporeal ! I ' 

A Mr. Underwood dined with us, who was so long a 
detenu in Trance that he now resides there, preferring it to 
England. He said, ' The Bourbons are becoming much 
more arbitrary than before the Revolution; the prisons are 
full of political offenders. A looker-on sometimes sees more 
than those who are actually engaged, and my opinion of 
the French people is, that they are much too corrupt for a 
free Government, and much too enlightened for a despotic 

I send you a specimen of Petworth or Sussex marble, 
better polished than that which you have. With my love to 
all, believe me, your affectionate Son, 

Chaklbs Ltell. 

To His Fathee. 

Hotel Meurice, Paris: June 28, 1823. 

My dear Father,— I left London Sunday, June 22, at nine 
o'clock, in the ' Earl of Liverpool ' steam-packet ; crossed 
to Calais m 11 hours I 120 miles! engines 80-horse power, 
lor 240 tons. Lord Lonsdale on board. As I was not sick 
at all, he conversed with me much. 

Sir Ralph Anstruther, a great friend of Sir J. Ramsay's, 
was also a pa.ssenger, a young Scotch laird, has property in 
Fifeshire and Caithness. I introduced myself as a friend of 
Sir J., and he asked me to go with him to Abbeville in the 
cabriolet of the diligence. The next day he took me in a 
carriage which he hired to take him to Lisieux, near Caen, 
some miles on the Neuchatel road. I then returned geolo- 
gising to Abbeville, and spent the day in seeing the 
manufactures of cloth, carpets, glass, &c. At the former 
they have erected lately an English steam-engine of 18-horse 
power, which enables them to dispense with 1,000 workmen. 
The heads of these factories are very rich, and all liberals. 
They seemed quite delighted to find an Englishman to whom 
they might pour forth their abuse both of their own and our 
ministers, which they did without sounding me as to ray 
politics. To the intrigues of our Cabinet they impute the 

124 • SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. v. 

counter-revolution in Portugal. Since the peace thej have 
established two monasteries for friars, and two for nuns at 
Abbeville, and they are now building another nunnery. 
The next day I went on per diligence to Paris. 

Ramsay was gone to Baden when I arrived, and I shall 
certainly not go yet to the Esmenards, as there are two 
Englishmen there who talk nothing but English. Judge 
Richardson introduced me in town to his marshal, Bosanquet, 
a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, who gave me a letter to Hunter, 
a gentlemanlike young Englishman who has a place in our 
foreign ofBce here. He takes me to-day to a French family, 
where I shall hear their language alone spoken, and where, 
if I fancy it, I ra&j place myself; if not, dine there for 3 
francs when I like. Grey Bennett's friend, Duvan, called 
this morning ; he is a very pleasant man, has been in oflBce, 
now lives on his own fortune ; his hobby is botany. He takes 
me to Cuvier's soiree to-night, when I shall deliver my letters, &c. 

To-morrow morning I am to attend Brongniart's ' levee, 
to whom I have four letters, and who among the English 
geologists has the highest reputation both for knowledge and 
agreeable manners of all the French savans. I have left 
my letters and Buckland's book at Humboldt's (or, as his 
porter calls him, Hoombowl), but did not see him. I called 
on the Airlies yesterday, saw Lady A. and Mrs. Drummond ; 
the former looking very well, and in high spirits. She says 
there are not so many English here as there were, and the 
price of lodgings and houses sensibly diminished. 

All the French gentry attached to the Court whom they 
see accuse all the English, both Whig and Tories, of being 
Radicals and Revolutionists, and they are much piqued that 
the Due d'Orleans' levees are so much more splendidly 
attended by English noblesse and gentry than the Court. 
Your affectionate Son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

' Alexander Brongniart, a distinguished chemist and mineralogist, b. 1770, 
d. 18i7. 

1823. HUMBOLDT. 1 25 

To His Father. 

Hotel Meuxice, Paris : Friday, July 3, 1823. 

My dear Father, — I have passed my time here as yet 
very much to my satisfaction, but I fancy I have not been 
advancing so much in my acquaintance with the language 
as with the sa,van%, to whom my numerous letters gave me a 
most favourable introduction. My reception at Cuvier's last 
Saturday will make me feel myself at liberty to attend his 
soirees every week, and they are a great treat. He was very 
polite, and invited me to attend the Institute on Monday. 
There he introduced me to several geologists, and put me in 
an excellent place for hearing. 

Miss Duvansel, daughter of Cuvier's present wife by a 
former marriage, is a young woman of most engaging 
manners, and very clever, talks English (as does Miss Cuvier) 
excellently ; she is pretty, and very lively. She is not a slight 
acquisition to the attraction of Cuvier's levees, and the more so 
as he is fey nature reserved and uncommunicative in his conver- 
sation. We had a collation of fruit, &c.; the chief discussion 
was on Sir Walter Scott's last novel,* the scene of which is in 
Franceitseeais. Cuvieris delighted with it, as were the ladies. 

Humboldt addressed me, as Duvan had done, with, ' I 
have the honour of being familiar with your name, as your 
father has laboured with no small success in botany, 
particularly the Cryptogamse. I suppose when he was in 
Paris I was absent, or of course I should have met him some- 
where. But I hope if he comes again to be more fortunate.' 

He was not a little interested in hearing me detail the 
critiques which our geologists have made on his last 
geological work, a work which would give him a rank in 
science if he had never published aught besides. He made 
me a present of his work, and I was surprised to find how 
much he has investigated the details of our English strata. I 
am going to him this morning with some specimens, to make 
him master of the last point which was cleared up in my Isle of 
Wight tour with Buckland, and afterwards he takes me and 
Sir J. Croft to the Observatory to show it to us. He appears 
to work hard at astronomy, and lives in a garret for the 

' Quentin Dv/rward. 

126 siJi CHARLES LVELL. chap. v. 

sake of that stud}'. The King of Prussia invited him to 
adorn his Court at the last Congress ; thence he went to 
Vesuvius just after the grand eruption, and brought away 
much geological information on that head, which he was 
good enough to communicate to me. He speaks English 
well. I attend lectures at the Jardin du Eoi, on mining-, 
geology, chemistry, and zoology, all gratis ! by the first men. 
The lectures both summer and winter are very numerous. I 
am sorry I am obliged to conclude, as I have much more to 
say. I dine every day at Madame Guien's, where we talk 
mostly French. They are friends of Hunter's. 

My love to all, and believe me, your affectionate Son, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Hotel Jleurice, Paris : July 8, 1823. 

My dear Father, — Although T do not believe I have aii}-- 
thing to say which would much endanger my being treated 
like Bowring with the Bastille, yet I write with more 
pleasure, as I know my letter will not be opened by the 
channel through which I send it. 

The seals of many letters going to England, and still 
more of those into the interior of France, are broken, which 
Eoyer tells me ' is very proper, for it has been the means of 
detecting many enemies ! ' 

Humboldt took me on Saturday, as he had promised, to 
the Observatory with Sir John Croft, who has a property in 
Yorkshire, was once in a diplomatic situation with Canning 
at Lisbon, from whom he brought letters to Humboldt. On 
our way Humboldt talked with great vivacity and force, of 
which I may perhaps give you some idea. 'No, Cuvier 
gives no lectures, and the reason I regret to say is, that he 
is still a Politician— no, you were mistaken, if you imagined 
that the ministry have reached a pitch of ultraism beyond 
him, I sent him back to his books. That time is yet to come. 
You observe that his soirees are mostly attended by English ; 
the truth is, the French savans have in general cut him ; his 
continual changing over to each new party that came into 
power at length disgusted almost all, and you know that it has 

1823. CUVIER. 127 

been long a charge against men of science, that they were 
pliant tools in the hands of princes and ministers, and might 
be turned which way they pleased. That such a man as Cuvier 
should have given a sanction to such an accusation was felt by 
all as a deep wound to the whole body. And what on earth was 
Cuvier to gain by intermeddling with politics? If his 
ambition could have reasonably flattered itself with the hope 
that his talents might one day open to him the heights of 
power, the attainment of sucli an object would have been an 
excuse for his having the weakness to desire it. But this 
he full well knew was impossible in Prance. First, because 
he was a Frotestant, and, secondly, because he was a man of 
low family. You well know with what contempt the old 
aristocracy of all countries are apt to regard all new men of 
whatever abilities. We feel that but too much in Germany, 
but here it is a principle of party now to carry such 
prejudices to the utmost length. Cuvier's situation was a 
proud one while he stood in the very foremost rank of men 
of science in France, but when he betrayed the weakness of 
coveting ribbons, crosses, titles, and Court favour, he fell 
down to the lowest among his new competitors.' ' The Duke 
d'Orleans has 320,000L sterling per annum. He is liberal, 
though he does not spend his income, for he puts by for his 
numerous family. He is domestic, though he lives in 
princely style. He likes the English, and deserves to be the 
favourite, which he is, with them.' ' You cannot conceive, 
gentlemen, how striking and ludicrous a feature it is in 
Parisian society at present, that every other man one meets 
is either minister or ex-minister. So frequent have been 
the changes. They are scattered as thick as the leaves in 
autumn, stratum above stratum, and before one set have 
time to rot away, they are covered by another and another, 
and on the last are sure soon to fall those which are now 
blooming in full verdure above them. The instant a new 
ministry is formed a body of sappers and miners is organised. 
They work industriously night and day. They are more 
religious, more constant at mass, more loyal, and, above all, 
they know better how to ape exactly not only the ideas and 
manners, but the very air and the expression, of their ancestors 
of some centuries back. At last the minister, as Chateau- 


briand and Vilelle for instance at this moment, find they are 
become heretics, Jacobins, infidels, revolutionists — in a word 
that they are supplanted by the very arts by which a few 
months ago they raised themselves to power.' 

At the entrance of the Observatory we met Le Marquis 
de La Place,^ a very fine-looking old gentleman. The famous 
mathematician Arago ' did the honours of the Observatory, 
where vre staid somehours. On Arago's pointing out from the 
top some newly-built monasteries, Humboldt observed, ' We 
have made a calculation, and find that there exist already 
more religious houses in Paris than before the Eevolution.' 
This extraordinary statement did not seem to startle Arago, 
but Duvan, who, though a placeman, is far from violent in 
polities, assures me it cannot be true ; he said, however, 
' The assertion is so curious that I will inquire.' Humboldt' 
said, ' These houses do not yd contain so many inmates,' 
After what I have given you concerning Cuvier, I ought in 
justice to add my own opinion, which is that he is more 
liberal and independent than I believe most Frenchmen are. 
He dares to speak and often with praise of Napoleon, and 
before Frenchmen, who might, and no doubt do, turn it 
against him. We must not forget that Baron Humboldt and 
he are the two great rivals in science, for La Place and the 
mathematicians do not come in contact with them. Hum- 
boldt's birth places him on the vantage ground, and Cuvier 
perhaps tries to compensate this by a little political power. 
As for his ratting so often, defendit numerus. What French 
politician could throw the first stone at him ? Humboldt's 
family is noble and ancient in Germany. His elder brother 
a man now in great power there. His talents entitle him to 
regard with the contempt which he expresses, and I have no 
doubts feels, for mere rank, but we may say of him as 
Chateaubriand said of our English Peers, that he is well 
aware that while he gets too liberal, he is in no danger of 
losing the station and the advantages which his birth 
ensures for him. I dined with the Airlies to-day. 
I hope I shall soon hear from Bartley. 
My love to all, and believe me your affectionate Son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

' The author of MecTianigue Celeste, b. 1749, d. 1827 
' Francis Arago, astronomer, b. 1786, d. 1853. 

1823. POLITICS. 129 

To His Father. 

Hotel Meurioe, Paris : July 13, 1823. 

My dear Father, — Your letter of the 4th arrived on 
Friday. The rain, which has injured your hay, has fallen 
almost every day since my arrival here, and the Parisians 
talk of the weather as if it was the most serious misfortune. 
It has a great effect on their spirits, and no wonder Montes- 
quieu, as a Frenchman, dwells so much on climate as the cause 
of national character. A lady said to me at dinner the other 
day, 'There is a revolution in the heavens, and the Due 
d'Angouleme should be sent to quell it, for in truth he is too 
good for us here.' 

I have learnt, however, from a quarter that leaves me in 
no doubt, that the Duke and all the Eoyal Family, except 
the Duchesse de Berri, were against the war, as well as 
the ministers. The Duke is decidedly hostile to that ' ex- 
treme right' whose fanaticism carried everything before it. 
Almost all the less violent royalists are still in doubt whether 
it would not have been better to let alone the campaign, but 
as that is now impossible, they reason thus : ' We shall derive 
from the war in Spain two great advantages ; first, the cannon 
has been fired under the white flag, the army is now decidedly 
with us : this gives a consistency and weight to the Bourbons 
which they before wanted. Secondly, the Due d'Angouleme, 
who is a man of more vovs than the English give him credit 
for, has acquitted himself with honour. He entered upon a 
dangerous expedition, and in which he least of all expected 
there would prove no severe fighting. The consideration and 
weight which he has acquired with all will be employed at 
home against that growing evil, the extreme right, which, if 
unchecked, must ere long occasion serious mischief in France.' 
My fear is that when eighty-five new deputies are added 
next year, the ne i^lus ultra Ultras will acquire as much 
additional force as they did this year. I am told the new 
French loan of Thursday last was equal to the greatest sum 
ever raised in England in one day during the last war. It 
has added to their debt 18,000,000L sterling, and something 
more, which, with the 5,000, OOOL with which they started, is no 

VOL. I. K 

130 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, v 

small expense even were the business over. In spite of the 
revolutionary sponge, their debt will shortly be no trifle. 
Next year the interest will be well on to 13,000,000L sterling I 
suspect; and if ours was reduced to three per cent, (and I hear 
Eobinson will make a great step towards this next year), ours 
would only be 26,000,000L, or double the interestof the French. 
Mons. Corriglione, brother-in-law of the famous Garnet,^ 
dined with us the other day. He has some landed property 
near Paris. He says the stagnation of commerce has depressed 
agriculture here in an unprecedented manner. Wool, which 
was at fifty sous when the army entered Spain, has fallen to 
twelve sous. 

My fellow-collegian Rickards arrived in Paris yesterday, 
and persuaded me to give two guineas to the Greeks, which 
I do with great pleasure, and not the less so, though DaJby 
stands up for the Turks. He was a staunch Liberal when 
starting for the bar. Since he has decided on the Church, 
Rickards says he has grown too hot, even for Oxford, in 
Toryism. He abuses Canning and Co. for opposing the most 
sacred of wars against Spain, &c. &c. Tyndall, one of the 
young Englishmen in the house where I dine, has just 
received from the Greek Committee the appointment of 
surgeon, and a letter to Lord Byron, whom he sets out to 
join to-morrow. I was glad to hear the Cantabs have had a 
subscription for the Greeks. The Airlies I am sure will feel 
it no effort to settle in Angus, for they seem to talk and 
think of nothing else : they had intended to go to Switzer- 
land and Italy, but all is given up. Maule's son,' it seems, 
has gained his action. Lord Airlie remarked, ' I am sorry 
for it as a general rule, for in entailed estates sons were but 
too independent of parents before.' I quite agree with him, 
and as no doubt Maule will appeal, I shall be glad to see the 
judgment reversed in the House of Lords. A Mr. Buchanan, 

2 Minister of War under the consulate of Napoleon, b. 1753, d, 1823, 
author of mathematical works. 

' The Hon. Fox Maule (heir apparent to the Hon. William Maule of 
Panmure, who was in possession of an estate of 10,000?, a year), having 901. 
of pay as an ensign in the army, and 1002. a year from his father, was found 
entitled by the Court of Sessions, to whom he applied, to an alimeut of &001. 
per annum. This decision was afterwards reversed by appeal before the 
House of Lords. 

1823. 'ALIMENTS FOR EVER: 131 

nephew of Mr. Ogilvy of Tannadice, who has met you, dined 
there, and said Gray of Carse is in ecstasies. He says, 
' Aliments for ever ! I shall get my son to sue me, and we 
shall extract something from the creditors.' I remove to- 
morrow to 9 Eue Montabor. 
Tour affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

K 2 

132 s/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 


JULY 1823 — OCTOBER 1824. 


To His Fathee. 

9 Eue Montabor, Paris ; July 20, 1823. 

My dear Father, — Friday morning I entered, by a ticket 
from Duvan, the Garde Meuble. The new crown, which is 
made entirely of diamonds and amethysts, is the most 
elegant and tasteful, as well as costly piece of jewellery I 
have ever seen. Afterwards I went by invitation to Sevres, 
where Brongniart showed me the whole process of the manu- 
facture, and explained it mineralogically. I then dined with 
his family, and a delightful party. His sister, Madame 
Pichon, has been a celebrated beauty, and sat for Gerard's 
Psyche. Her husband was Charge d' Affaires of France in 
the United States for five years. She speaks English, an 1 
adores America to a degree that surprises me. Her husband 
wrote a work on politics, the object of which was to prove 
the possibility of introducing the English Constitution into 
France, and from his attacks upon Napoleon's tyranny was 
obliged to fly to England during the Hundred Days. Never- 
theless, he was cast out lately from the Council of State, for 


giving it as his opinion that tlie King could not authorise 
the taking the veil in convents, without the Chamber re- 
pealing the existing laws against it. Cuvier, a Protestant, 
was President of the Council, and gave his vote the other 
way. Since this time the Protestants of Paris, who before 
looked up to him as a leader, have held him in abomination. 
He also sanctioned the Missionaries. Le Baron Coquebert 
de Montret, Brongniart's father-in-law, was also there. I 
had read an essay which he wrote lately, to accompany a 
geological map of d'AUoi's, showing the connection between 
the geology and statistics of France. He was for many 
years from 1806 Consul-General of France at London — 
thoroughly acquainted with England and many of our leading 
men, and has spent much time in Ireland, the whole of 
which except three counties he has been over. His country 
seat is near Sevres on the banks of the Seine, at Bas Meudon, 
and as there is exposed there a fine section of all the Ter- 
tiary formations of the Paris basin, from the chalk upwards, 
he very politely asked me to come and breakfast with him 
yesterday, which I gladly consented to. He took me over 
the whole ground himself, and gave me a delightful statistico- 
geological lecture on the formations. I was much gratified 
at the analogy between this section and the same beds in the 
Isle of Wight. I made a collection of specimens, and after 
declining an invitation to dinner returned to Paris. I found 
him occupied in making tables of the comparative popula- 
tion, increase of finances, &c., of Great Britain and France ; 
and he was not aware, though he reads English works so 
much, that Lowe had anticipated him. I begged for Lowe 
a copy of a memoir which he has just written for the Geo- 
graphical Society here, on the comparative population of 
Les lies Britanniques and France, the object of which is to 
check the fears of many Frenchmen, who oppose themselves 
to every improvement here, on the ground of its occasioning 
an increase of population, which idea they have chiefly de- 
rived from mistaking Malthus. 

With my love to all, believe me your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltbll. 



To His Father. 

51 Rue Eiohelien, Paris : July 28, 1823. 

My dear Father, — I have now finally settled in Eue 
Eichelieu, No. 51 — two very nice rooms for fifty francs a 
month ! ! I went over to breakfast and dine last Wednesday 
with Mons. Prevost/ a friend of Dr. Fitton's, at his country 
seat at Montmorency, about a league the other side of St. 
Denis, and met another young French geologist there. A 
long walk which we took gave me a great knowledge of the 
geology of the environs, which is very interesting. Prevost 
has travelled much in Europe, is a man of good fortune, and 
an excellent Geologue. He has come to Paris since, and I 
dined with him yesterday at his house here, a pleasant party, 
consisting chiefly of his wife's relations, who have a good 
deal of land in the neighbourhood of Paris. I have promised 
to spend the whole of next week in different geological ex- 
cursions with him, chiefly in the neighbourhood of Fontaine- 
bleau, at his own mother's. We are to visit the millstone 
quarries which supply nearly all Europe and North America. 

At Cuvier's, on Saturday, the conversation was more 
than usually interesting, chiefly on Napoleon. Cuvier 
vouches for the truth of a great part of Las Casas' narrative 
of events, &c., at many of which he was present here. He 
has been all along very obliging to me, and the other day 
he asked me to dine with him next Saturday, and said, ' I 
shall assemble some of our geologists to meet you.' Sir J. 
Croft and I meet often, and are very good friends. He says 
the labour of those attached to embassies is often prodigious, 
eighteen hours a day, and he has known many knocked up, 
and himself nearly. It is pure drudgery, as, for instance, 
adding up and copying the Ambassador's washerwoman's 
bill ! If my eyes were equal to half this, I would take to 
the law in earnest, which would introduce me to society of 
which I have an infinitely higher opinion, and to a descrip- 
tion of labour which is even, when most dry, an exercise of 
the reasoning powers. Sir John is a well-informed gentle- 
manlike man. 

' M. Constant Prevost, an eminent French geologist. 

1823. M. PICHON. 135 

I believe I am improving in the language, as much as 
can be expected from one who is obliged to abstain from 
writing exercises, and almost entirely from the theatres and 
reading French works, 

M}- love to all, and believe me your affectionate son, 

Chaeles LtEJjL. 

To His Fathee. 

Paris : August 3, 1823. 

My dear Father, — I had intended to have written yester- 
day, when I had time for a long letter, but my eyes were so 
fatigued I was obliged to lay down my pen. By way of 
resting them, I escorted Lady Airlie to Marshal Soult's 
magnificent gallery of Murillos, of which master he has a 
collection of immense value and beauty. Afterwards we 
went to the Due d'Orleans', where there are many by 
modern French artists, which are said to have merit, but 
for which we were perfectly spoilt by having feasted on the 
splendour of the Bolognese school. Madame Pichon invited 
me to a soiree on Friday, and introduced me to her husband. 
I believe T gave you a part of their history. When Charge 
d' Affaires in America he opposed Jerome Buonaparte's mar- 
riage with Miss Patteson, for which Jerome got the Emperor 
to disgrace him. Two years afterwards Jerome was made 
King of Westphalia. He then wrote to Pichon that he had 
used him unjustly, and as compensation had appointed him 
Minister of his Treasury. The Pichons accordingly went to 
his court, and lived there in great style. He held lately 
some high place in the administration relating to Law 
Appointments, which he lost by opposing the Missionaries, 
a system which Madame says is driving as fast as possible 
all the French into two sects. Bigots and Deists, for they 
are making their religion too superstitious and absurd for 
persons of education in the nineteenth century. 

Mons. P. seems clever, is very well informed, and com- 
municative, and the house will be a great resource for me, 
as I have a general invitation, which I have no scruple in 
availing myself of in Paris, as they do not ever give tea at 
their evening conversations. He mentioned that the 

136 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

Grovernment have tlie nomination, on the average, of 1,200 
law places of considerable emolument annually ! The number 
of Judges (not counting Justices of Peace, who are also paid) 
is 2,500. These are for life, but there is a regular chain of 
promotion, for which they are all panting, which makes the 
whole machine a most formidable political weapon. The 
number of decorations of ex-ministers in the party reminded 
me of Humboldt's remarks. When I gave Madame Guien 
(the Protestant lady with whom I have been dining en 
pension) an account of this, she said, ' Faith, what between 
things spiritual and temporal, " c'est le regne des croix." ' 

At Cuvier's dinner-party yesterday there was a discussion 
as to what were the motives which induced Lord Castlereagh 
to kill himself, in which all the French assumed that it was 
a deliberate act. Upon some one observing that Lord C. 
had a surprising power, when he liked, of talking for hours 
without imparting information on subjects on which he did 
not choose to be clear, Cuvier said, •' I suppose then he was 
of Talleyrand's opinion, who declares "that speech was 
given to man, the better to enable him to conceal his 
thoughts." ' The Abbe Florini, an emigrant, who has been 
thirty years in England, and now here only on a visit, was 
amusingly violent, said our Press was an insupportable 
nuisance to ourselves, and to France, &c. After dinner he 
was arguing with me on the Spanish War, when Cuvier 
came up and said, ' Mr. Lyell, you must come with me into 
my study, for I want to show you a collection of English 
law books, which, as an English barrister, you will be 
amused at finding in my library. I interrupt your argu- 
ment without ceremony, because I know better than you do 
the serious scrape from which I extricate you. Let me tell 
you, sir, that my good friend the Abbe (tapping the Abb6 on 
the shoulder) is a man of old and noble family in France, 
besides this he is an Abbe, and moreover an emigre, and all 
these grafted on an English Tory. Is not this enough to 
form a compound which may support even all that we can 
here produce of Ultraism ? ' At this he laughed freely, and 
the Abbe joined with a good grace. What made the scene 
more amusing and extraordiuary to me, and what I believe 
enabled the Abb6 to bear with the joke, was that Cuvier is 

1823. CONSTANT PRiVOST. 137 

himself notoriously considered an Ultra, and I fear with too 
much reason, one of the most mischievous Ultras in the 
present Gonseil d'Mat. There was a full levee in the 
evening, and he held forth on his new work which is just 
coming out, on Tossils of Cetacea. His reflections on the 
former state of this planet and the creation were so grand, 
and delivered so elegantly and so unaffectedly, that when 
he finished I could not help regretting that he had dabbled 
so much with what Sir J. Croft styles ' the dirty pool of 
politics.' — Tour affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Fateee. 

51 Eue Eidielieu, Paris : August 10, 1823. 

My dear Father, — My excursion into the country last week 
with Mons. Prevost proved a very pleasant and instructive 
one. Our route was by Melun, Fontainebleau, Moret, Mon- 
tereau. We had the satisfaction of discovering some new 
geological facts, and I gained a pretty correct knowledge of 
most of the formations of the environs and of the position of 
the gres, or sandstone of Fontainebleau. The forest is very 
varied, contains some fine timber, and a few views which are 
singularly wild and picturesque. We start next week on a 
second campaign. I slept two nights at Mons. Beviere's, near 
Melun. Prevost's father-in-law is a very gentlemanlike old 
man. His father was rich, and Napoleon made him a 
Senator, which added 35,000 francs per annum to his fortune 
of 40,000 a year. Prevost has married a daughter of Turgot, 
the famous French advocate, who regained before his death 
part of the land which he lost at the Eevolution, and left 
900 acres, very rich, in the neighbourhood of Paris. His 
widow enjoys half for her life, which will be at her death 
equally shared by the son and three daughters, who possess 
already equal parts of the other moiety. Young Turgot, 
whom I have met at dinner, has married a young lady of 
Normandy, who will inherit a great fortune, and he hopes 
to become deputy of that province. He is an advocate, but 
does Bot practise except when he volunteers a defence in 

138 SIJi CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

some political case, whicli lie lias done several times. He 
seems a clever but rather violent Liberal, ia loi commune 
is, I should say, a favourite with the best informed and most 
candid men whom 1 have yet met with here. Even Baron 
Montret, who is fully aware of all that can be objected 
against it, confesses that he should hesitate much before he 
could give his vote against it. Prevost says the immense 
size of properties before the Revolution was a great evil, 
and that the division has increased the wealth and popula- 
tion of the nation, and the general ease and happiness. 
Mons. Pichon says that there are 12,000,000 proprietaires in 
Prance out of 30,000,000 ! This law was the subject of an 
animated discussion between several Frenchmen at Cuvier's 
last night. They mentioned, as a favourable result of it, the 
facility with which young ladies married, and alluded to 
the diiRculty which those of a certain ra,nk in England found 
in settling, and the numbers that never did, as no small evil. 
But without reference to the merits or demerits of the 
system, there is no institution of which the effects are more 
remarkable, or better worth studying in Prance at present ; 
and if it lasts fifty years more, the contrast between England 
and Prance will be most curious, whichever nation it may be 
in favour of. Prevost has travelled much over Prance, and 
he says he has never known a single chateau of a certain 
size (about the size of Bartley) erected in modern times. 
In the provinces the demolition of the old ones is most 
rapid. Even near Paris he cited seven great chateaux 
which have been sold and pulled down since the return of the 
King. Perhaps the most remarkable of these (of all which 
I have made a list) is Montmorency. General Arrighi laid out 
50,000L sterling just before his death in having the walls 
and ceilings preserved. It was sold, and the stones of the 
house and the park walls burned into lime. The same law 
which brings large estates into the market makes it impos- 
sible to find a purchaser for them. Large companies of 
speculators are organised, who buy up these mansions for 
the materials, and the French are uncharitable enough to 
call them les bandes noires, from the analogy of their occupa- 
tion to those adventurers of that name who bought up the 
churches and chateaux at the Eevolution, and generally paid 


the purchase money by the lead alone with which they were 
covered. If a merchant gives a dowry to his daughter at 
her marriage, and dies bankrupt, or, as constantly happens, 
with his affairs in a less flourishing state than at the time of 
the wedding, she must bring her fortune back to be divided 
among the brothers and sisters. If she, is dead, still her 
children must refund, and this is the cause of no little con- 
fusion and insecurity, and is no bad harvest for the lawyers. 
By the way, Cuvier mentioned last night that the number of 
Etudiants en droit at the college has exactly doubled since 
the peace. He also said, with regret, that the study of 
mathematics was going fast to decay, and explained why the 
smaller scale of their war department necessarily occasioned 
this. I have made acquaintance with Le Baron de Ferussac, 
a colonel on the staff of the French army, who went through 
Napoleon's Spanish campaigns. He is a lively young man 
of very pleasant manners, of an old family, and in the first 
society. He is engaged in publishing a work on the Mol- 
luscse, and has studied much those branches which relate to 
Geology. He has the finest collection by far of land and 
freshwater shells in the world. I spent two mornings with 
him, and he is certainly the most brilliant builder of theories 
I have ever met with. I fought hard with him for Buck- 
land's notions of the Diluvian formation, in which Perussac 
is not orthodox. A cabinet geologist can account for every- 
thing much more easily than one who takes the field, and 
looks all the difficulties in the face ; but he is very ingenious, 
and his knowledge of shells gives him a powerful clue. As 
you have almost said enough to provoke a geological letter 
from me, I will endeavour to state in a few words an out- 
line of Ferussac's cosmogony. He says geology yields ample 
proofs, both that the ocean was at a much higher level than 
at present, and that the general temperature of the earth 
has decreased. That from chemical reasons the diminution 
of heat would naturally be attended by a subsidence of the 
waters. That from the organisation of the moUuscse, some 
can only live at great, others at slight depths. On the 
shores and shallows of the Mediterranean different species 
now exist from those in the deep parts, and that we may 
conclude totally different ones again dwell in the fathomless 

140 siJi CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

sea. In this manner he accounts for the oldest and lowest beds 
presenting us such totally different fossils from the superior 
ones, and the reason that as we ascend in the series the 
productions resemble more and more those which now live, 
is merely because the ocean, as it became shallower, con- 
tained animals more and more analogous to those which 
alone we have now access to. At length the chalk was 
deposited, and covered with its analogous formations almost 
all the continents we know anything about. Much land was 
then left bare, and freshwater formations began. The present 
system of valleys did not then exist, of which there is proof, 
and instead of the waters being carried off, as they are so 
beautifully at present, the whole was nearly covered with 
great lakes, of which we know thirteen, those of the 
London and Hants and Paris basins being three. All these 
thirteen present similar phenomena of alternating fresh and 
salt water formations, and mixtures of both. As the ocean 
was then still nearly on a level with the chalk, it often broke 
down a dyke, as in Holland, and deposited oystei's, &c., once 
more. Analogous phenomena may now be seen in progress 
in the Caspian and other inland lakes, &c. I wish I had 
room to go on, but I find I shall be unable to tell you my 
plans. I am going with Prevost this week to see those 
parts of the Paris basin which I have not yet seen. In a 
month I think of leaving this. I went to a delightful 
soiree at Madame Pichon's on Friday. Humboldt was there. 
He told me that as soon as I have finished my tour with 
Prevost he shall get me to give him two mornings, and shall 
read over to me all he has written on the tertiary formations 
for his second edition, as I have now compared the Isle of 
Wight with Paris. Besides obliging him, I shall get a good 
cram by this, — Tour affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

51 Rue Richelieu, Paris : August 23, 1823. 
My dear Father, — My plan at present is to leave Paris in 
a fortnight, or at farthest three weeks. Whenever I return 


here 1 shall have the full advantage of the acquaintances I 
have made. Paris is as come-at-able as Holland, and more 
so, because any season will do for it : indeed the winter would 
be preferable to this. If a future opportunity should occur 
of going to Holland, there will always be many other tours 
which I could exchange for it — but I only consider it as a 
route home, and I have already taken most of the others. I 
am dining now with Eamsay's friends, the Esmenards, a 
pleasant family. There is only there at present a rich, young, 
handsome, fashionable, and gentlemanlike American, of 
Philadelphia, who speaks French admirably. He has a box 
at the opera, which would be a lounge for me, but my weak 
eyes almost preclude my profiting by it. He has travelled 
all over the United States and Canada, and part of Europe ; 
speaks Italian and German, has read some poets, &c., has 
studied law, but does not intend to practise. He amuses 
me much. He is an aristocratic republican, well informed, 
thinks his own the prst country in the world, and England 
the second, and that the latter would rival, if not surpass his 
own, if not blemished by the anomaly of a King and a Peer- 
age. I have seen Humboldt often since I last wrote. He said 
the last time, ' I have just read the last " Edinburgh " and 
" Quarterly Reviews," and am glad to see in the latter two such 
liberal articles as those on Greece and Spain. To be sure, 
some may say that the last pages of the latter article are at 
variance with the first part, but still it convinces me that 
the majority of your Tories are against the war.' I asked 
him how he thought the two Eeviews had treated him ? ' I 
have no reason to complain, my political opinions are well 
known, like all others, I have fared accordingly. I was 
roughly handled by the Quarterly, but perhaps still more 
injured by the extravagant praises of the Edinburgh. For 
when they paid me such insidious compliments as to say I 
was the first of savans, &c., they could not fail to make me 
enemies.' He told me what he thought of many of our 
great public men on both sides, with whom he has had per- 
sonal acquaintance. 

Tou will wonder that such simple questions as some in 
your last letter are not easily answered here, for it is com- 
mon for a well-informed Frenchman to reply : ' Tou will 

142 sjJi CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

wonder I do not know, but there is no use in learning, for 
our fundamental laws are changed every few years, and if 
not, they are violated with impunity.' That the royal pre- 
rogative is very undefined here, is, I think, proved by their 
establishing ' monasteries ' and ' taking the veil,' which is 
in general believed to be unlawful. I have asked, ' Can the 
king grant a majorat to an unlimited amount ? ' The answer 
has been more than once, ' If he did, the tribunals, depend 
upon it, would not overrule it.' The more I learn of the 
institutions of this country, the more I am convinced that 
their tendency to absolute monarchy is irresistible. Had we 
gone to war for the Cortes, we should have, I suspect, thrown 
the power into the hands of the opposite party, but that 
power would have remained absolute. But as to the majo- 
rats, a duke's is 40,000 francs, the other titles less, but I 
cannot say what as yet. A man's property is divided into 
as many shares as he has children, and one more, which last 
(varying of course according to the number of his family) 
is at his own disposal. For example, if a duke has 340,000 
francs per annum, and only two children, he can leave the 
eldest 240,000 francs a year, viz., 100,000 francs for his 
share, 40,000 francs for the majorats, and 100,000 francs 
which is at the father's disposal. 

You know that Buonaparte introduced a military uniform 
into the Polytechnic schools, and the scholars were sum- 
moned to meals, lessons, &c., by beat of drum. When the 
Bourbons were restored they abolished this, as inconsistent 
with establishments intended chiefly for educating youths 
for civil employments. Within this last three months the 
drum has been reinstated for the clock, and the military 
costume for the toga. A cousin of the Esmenards' dined 
with them on Sunday in uniform. He is intended for a civil 
department. Schools of Enseignement Mutuel were flour- 
ishing and multiplying in France. They are now discoun- 
tenanced, and it is expected will soon be extinct. For these 
the missionaries have founded ' Schools for Good Christians.' 
On the high road in the Forest of Fontainebleau has lately 
been erected an open chapel, with a figure of the Virgin, and 
candles always burning. When we passed, many women and 
children were kneeling and praying in it. The churches are 


recovering their splendour in Paris, and the priests are most 
gorgeously apparelled. The congregations are amazingly 
increased, chiefly because the ministers and persons in power, 
forming the bulk of their aristocracy, have made church- 
going so fashionable, that it is becoming contrary to hon ton 
for your carriage not to be seen there. But unfortunately it 
is still a mark of party, and from my own knowledge I can 
answer for this fact, that some conscientiously religious 
Liberals abstain with their families altogether from church, 
because they have not courage enough to brave the imputa- 
tion of being place-hunters. But besides their indirect in- 
fluence, the Government have resorted to open compulsion. 
For instance, every student of medicine is compelled to pro- 
duce a certificate of confession, before he can take his degree. 
Fortune does not favour the growth of constitutional free- 
dom in France. Eeligious feeling is in the opposite scale 
from that in which it weighed with our ancestors. And this 
feeling is not extinct as some suppose in France, nor can we 
ever expect it to be, as it is certainly natural to the constitu- 
tion of the human mind. At our revolutionary period, the 
Court and the fashionable civilians were the sceptics, and 
often the open scoffers. The Puritans were then the church- 
goers, and Liberals. The Republican leaders in England 
were able to acquire power to check the Crown by precisely 
the same hypocrisy by which the modern French Ultras 
acquire unlimited force for the prerogative. 

I have not time to say anything of my last excursion 
with Prevost to St. Germains, Poissy, Versailles, &c. 

With my love to all at Bartley, believe me, your affec- 
tionate son, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

51 Eue Richelieu, Paris : August 28, 1823. 

My dear Father, — I have called twice on Redoute,^ with- 
out finding him. 

As an opportunity now offers, I am desirous of seeing the 
Low Countries, though in autumn, for I think the chances 

' Botanist, author of Les Bases and Les lAliaces, 



of my seeing Paris again pleasantly are two to one greater 
than my being able to make a tour in the former in Spring. 

Next Spring, for instance, I must hold myself if possible 
disengaged in order to conduct Prevost to one of our great 
geological head-quarters in the neighbourhood of Bristol. I 
hope that Dr. Fitton will escort him to the Isle of Wight, 
which I know pretty well, and which Fitton ought to visit 
before he publishes his memoir on part of France. 

As I know nothing of the west of England, I shall do 
myself as great a favour as Prevost. My last excursion with 
him down the Seine to Trial, by land and by water, was very 
pleasant, and marvellously economical, for we were three 
long days, and travelled between twenty and thirty leagues 
for fourteen shillings each, the whole expense. The aque- 
duct near Versailles, which crosses a very pretty valley, and 
conducts part of the water which supplies the palace, is 
really like the work of a Roman emperor, and well worth 
visiting. The frescoes of Le Brun, in the palace of Ver- 
sailles, are very fine, and the chapel magnificent. I cer- 
tainly never entered elsewhere so kingly a mansion, or any 
theatre so well adapted for displaying the splendour of a 
great court. I have little doubt that in the next reign 
France will (to her cost) see its ancient glory restored, for 
as a Bourbon is the hero of every painting, it must naturally 
be a favourite of the family. The revolutionary violence of 
which it was the scene is considered by the Royalists as 
having consecrated it, rather than rendered it an object of 
aversion. As further inquiries have confirmed all the few 
facts which I have given you in former letters, I am en- 
couraged to send you a few more, which I have from as 
good authority. When a minister has been dismissed here, 
he has a pension of about l,200i. per annum sterling, a 
handsome fortune in France, not only from its purchasing 
more here, but because it raises a man above the general 
level than perhaps six times the sum would in England. 
As the ministers are so often changed, these pensions bid 
fair to form a large item in the expenditure. If a man votes 
against the party in power, he is stripped of his pension. 
This has been done, and if the moderate Royalists had given 
a patriotic and conscientious vote against the Spanish war, 

1823. PENSIONS. 145 

they would have lost their pensions. As ex-ministers must 
always form the most able, e£B.oient, and enlightened and 
useful opposition in a free country, this stretch of power is 
clearly unconstitutional, and, what is worse, is intended to 
be such. When Napoleon set up his Senate, he gave every 
senator 36,000 francs for life. As councillors they were as 
independent (or ought to have been) as the judges. These 
senators the Bourbons made peers, with the exception of 
such as betrayed them during the Hundred Days. A large 
portion of them were of course as little able to support their 
dignity as were most of the noble emigres who returned 
with the present family. To both these classes pensions 
were assigned, but not, as Buonaparte gave them, for life, 
but durante bene placito ! Such a gift certainly neither 
' blesses him who gives nor him who takes,' for it so de- 
graded the House of Peers in the eyes of the nation, that 
since that time it has lost all weight and consideration. 
The moderate and rational Royalists, who saw the error, 
proposed as a remedy, either that these noble paupers sho^ild 
be put on the footing of Napoleon's senators, or that a sum 
be raised by loan, which should be given with a majorat 
attached, and that it should be given to the emigres as a 
compensation for their losses in the Revolution. The mean- 
ing of this latter proposition was to annihilate the hopes of 
those fanatics who are for laying hands on all the property 
which they lost at the Revolution. The scheme was re- 
garded favourably by a large part of the Liberals and de- 
feated by the Ultras. The following facts will explain this 
paradox. Tou may see every day among the afficlies in 
Paris, Vente des Mens Patrimoniels. This term is used in 
contradistinction to all those estates which depend on a 
Revolutionary Title. The latter, even in tlie height of 
Napoleon's power, bore an inferior price to the former, and 
what is curious, the diiference between the two varied then, 
and does still, in different provinces according to the attach- 
ment or aversion to the new order of things. Any remu- 
neration to those who lost at the Revolution would cure the 
Revolutionary titles, and, by raising their value, favour a 
large and powerful party among the Liberals who hold those 
estates. This is one reason why the Ultras would not relish 

VOL. I. L 

146 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

it, but still more because tbeir hopes would then vanish of 
recovering their lost lands. Their cry is ' All or Nothing ! ' 
and for this, as in the war with Spain, they would not 
scruple to hazard the crown, and risk another revolution. 

August 30. — M. Pichon, Gonseiller d'Etat, called on me yes- 
terday, and left aninvitation to dinner, but I returned so late 
from Humboldt's, with whom I spent the afternoon, that I could 
not go, but I attended a gay soiree there. I had some con- 
versation with him, in which he gave me some entertaining 
accounts of the state of Parties here. Among other things 
he said — ' Do not suppose that the law of Equal Division is 
the work of Eevolution, it was the almost universal Law of 
France (the nobles only excepted), and is therefore now con- 
secrated by the prejudices of those who love the old as well 
as the new order of things. The Eoman Law, you know, 
favoured division, and that spread over half Prance. And 
the customary law in general favoured it also. I and many 
others do not feel sure that the Law of Primogeniture is not 

The following speech, which I heard a lady make the 
other day, is I think characteristic of the ideas which the 
French entertain, and the manner in which they speak of 
religion when they are unreserved. ' La Duchesse de 
Broglie is an amiable woman, very unlike her mother, 
Madame de Stael, in many points, particularly religion. 
She is in danger of becoming a complete Methodist, and 
more so I think since her late tour in England. She will 
have some influence, too, on that score, on the mind of ray 
old friend the Duke, her husband. When I saw much of 
him formerly, he had not that turn. I do not mean that be 
was irreligious, but certainly at that time he took a philo- 
sophical view of things.' 

I have promised Humboldt to pass the afternoon to-day 
in his study. His new edition serves as a famous lesson to 
me, in the comparison of England and the Continent. 
There are few heroes who lose so little by being approached 
as Humboldt. Of Cuvier this cannot be said. — My dear, 
father, your affectioniate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 


To His Tathee. 

Paris : September 7, 1823. 

My dear Father, — To-morrow morning, by ten o'clock, I 
shall be off for Compiegne in a ' Clerifere,' with an order 
from Duvan, who is Inspector of Public Works, to see the 
Chateau. Duvan and I have parted great friends. I have 
paid at T. and Wurtz's for Hooker's ' Flora Scotica,' which is on 
its way, and he has given me by way of souvenir La Eoche 
Jacqueline's 'War of La Vendee.' Your roses, &c. from 
Eedonte, I have had packed up with my two boxes of geo- 
logical treasures by a regular emhalleur, and they will go 
from Calais by steam to the Geological Society, where they 
will be in safety. Tour debt to Eedonte, which is of three 
years' standing, I paid — twenty-four Napoleons. Although he 
has made a great deal of money, yet I learn that he has 
contrived to be poor, and he seemed not a little desirous of 
touching the coin. 

If I had taken up my quarters with the Esmenards on 
my first arrival, I should have got on very far in French, 
and it will be a most desirable point to make for on any 
future occasion. Her husband, in Buonaparte's time, had 
the administration of the theatres here, a profitable employ- 
ment, and one which gave them access to the first society, 
which Madame Esmenard still keeps up. She is very sen- 
sible, genteel, and well informed, — in bad circumstances, 
and rather melancholy, I think for her daughters' sake 
rather than her own. The eldest daughter paints portraits. 
Some miniatures also of hers are exquisitely finished. Se- 
veral of Napoleon and Josephine she has sent to England, 
and they sold well. As her labours assist the family, she 
works hard and constantly. She is very amiable. The second 
is pretty, has reached great perfection in flower-painting, 
under Eedonte, sings moderately, and plays the piano well, 
in the French style. She is unaffected and exceedingly plea- 
sant. The youngest has none of these female accomplish- 
ments, and Nature has not favoured her either in form or 
face, nor I suspect with a contented disposition. She has 
read, however, the Lord knows how many works, in French, 
English, and Italian ; not to mention that she has dipped 


into Titus Livy, with a Frencli translation, and (by way of 
supplement) began the Latin grammar last month, with an 
Irish teacher, resident in Paris. Whether the young lady 
has in truth ' drunk deep of the Pierian spring,' I have had no 
opportimities of ascertaining, but I can see that the liquor 
is getting fast into her head, and will, I fear, soon render 
her d — h disagreeable. 

On Saturday week Cuvier introduced me to Professor 
Van Breda of Ghent, who not only drew out for me a plan of 
a tour in Holland, but gave me letters to all the Dutch 
universities, Ghent, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leyden. He is a 
friend of Greenough's, who showed him attention in London. 
As I finish by Ostend, I shall be glad to receive a letter 
from you there, as well as Rotterdam. I hare had full 
leisure since my stay in Paris to sow all the letters of intro- 
duction which I brought from England to French people. 

I have not heard of Prevost since he went into the 
country, so I suppose his wife would not give him leave of 
absence. I therefore went on Wednesday alone, for a plea- 
sant excursion of three days, to La Ferte-sous-Jonarre, a town 
situated on the Marne, in a beautiful country sixteen leagues 
]Sr. of Paris, five beyond Meaux. There are the quarries which 
supply half Europe and N. America with millstones. They 
are drawn from the most recent of the Antediluvian Form- 
ation, yet in some parts almost resemble the quartz of the 
oldest granite. They have a simple machine of a lever and 
a bucket, to draw water out of the pits, by which a boy of 
twelve years does as much work, I believe, as four men in 
the marl pits at Kinnordy. It costs but five francs erect- 
ii'g! I have taken a plan and measurement, and cannot 
but think it could be used with advantage in your loch. 
The Cathedral at Meaux is a beautiful specimen of the light 
style of Gothic. My love to all, and believe me your affec- 
tionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell, 


To His Fathee. 

Cambrai : September 1], 1823. 

My dear Tather,— Altliough I have not yet advanced far 
on my route, yet as an opportunity offers, and it maybe some 
time before I have another, I will send you a few lines. 

Madame Esmenard asked me one evening ' if I did not 
think the French had less national prejudices, particularly 
toTs^ards strangers, than the English.' I answered : ' Allow 
me first to ask whether by English you do not mean those 
Scotch, Irish, and English, who come from all parts and 
countries, whereas by French you merely mean Parisians ? ' 
After a moment she said, ' I confess I do,' and she defended 
this by assuring me that their ' provinces were so leliind, so 
prejudiced,' &c. 

Frenchmen, judging from the best-informed and most 
liberal whom I have seen, when they speak of the spirit, 
state of feeling, opinion, manners, faults, and virtues of 
France, merely mean by France, Paris. Mons. Pichon ob- 
served to me, ' If there is one thing more than another for 
which I abhor the memory of Napoleon, it is that he levelled 
the provinces, and the population of this country, by stripping 
them of all the municipal rights which they had left : such 
was his system. There did not remain any occasion on 
which they could practise " self-government." Throughout 
France they do not now choose a single alderman or mayor. 
It has become almost unsafe to trust them with any power, 
and much restriction which strikes an Englishman as des- 
potic is most necessary.' 

The effects of Paris being the centre of the system from 
which all light and heat emanate, are some of them singular 
enough. Their numerous judges, I before mentioned, are 
made subservient by a chain of promotion. Sometimes the 
President of a Tribunal where the salary is small is raised 
to another where it is greater, but if it be of the same emolu- 
ment, and a certain number of leagues nearer Paris, this is 
regarded as a great step. Duvan assures me that there is 
not a provincial town, not even Bordeaux, which in publish- 
ing, and adding to the stock of knowledge, is to be com- 
pared to many a small place in Germany of 3,000 inhabitants. 


If a man is thouglit to display talent, he is hurried to 
Paris, as the only soil where it can be nourished or admired. 
There are uo seats of education of as much consequence as 
our second-rate public schools out of Paris — no scientific 
establishments, with two or three paltry exceptions, as at 
Lyons, &c., which seem not to be so much respected as our 
New Philosophical Society of York, or the Geological of 
Cornwall. Although the population of this empire is one- 
third greater than that of the British Isles, there is no Ox- 
ford, no Cambridge, no Edinburgh, no Dublin, Glasgow, 
Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Hertford, Eton, &c. &c. — none of 
those numerous and often distant points which serve with us 
to circulate knowledge and the spirit of improvement 
through the system. Nor can I learn that there is any 
Gallery of Pictures or Statues, such as Wilton, Hamilton 
Palace, and a hundred others far and near, which with us 
enable many a provincial, who has not the time and means 
to travel to the great central monopolj', to gratify and im- 
prove his taste. Paris devours all. A Frenchman may well 
feel proud of his splendid capital, as worthy of an enlightened 
nation, and as one of 'the eyes of Europe.' But when we 
find that in knowledge, science, and in the splendour of 
wealth, all is a desert beyond, we cannot but regard her pre- 
eminence as invidious, and suspect that the spot where the 
court and chief political power has generally resided has 
acquired greatness at the expense of the other parts. It 
reminds me of that very original image to which Montes- 
quieu, in his ' Esprit des Lois,' likens a despotic government, 
which he says resembles that custom of the savages of 
Louisiana, who, in order to get at the cocoa-nuts, first cut 
down the tree. I have met, however, with so many liberal 
thinking and moderate men of both parties in Paris, that I 
expect France will work out for herself a better order of 
things. There is always hope while the representative 
system remains, and liberty to publish their debates ; and I 
hear that Labourdonay and many Ultras, who would tear the 
Charter in pieces if they could, set off as soon as the session 
ended, to labour to acquire influence in their provinces. 
This is well, and must raise up the provinces soon. 
My love to all, and believe me your affectionate son, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

1824. PLESIOSAURUS. 151 

[M. Constant Provost visited England in 1824, and Mr. Lyell 
made a tour with Mm from London to Bristol and the Land's End 
returning by the southern coast to Hampshire, in the course of 
which they were entirely engaged in geological investigations. 

In the summer, Mr. Lyell made another geological tour with 
Dr. Buckland in Scotland, who accompanied him from Kinnordy to 
Aberdeen and Inverness, and they paid a visit to Sir George Mac- 
kenzie in Eoss-shire, and after crossing the Grampians, visited Sir 
James Hall at Dunglass.] 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

29 Norfolk Street, London : February 17, 1824. 

My dear Sir, — Tour very obliging present of the ' Outlines 
of the Geology of Lewes ' came to me almost as a reproach 
for having so long delayed sending you my letter on the Isle 
of Wight, which I ought to have returned to you long before. 
Tour little volume is a very elegant illustration of your 
native town, and your contribution to it is an excellent proof 
how much the sphere of local interest is enlarged by geology. 
A few years since, a history of Lewes would scarcely have 
yielded any glimpse of information so far back as the seventh 
century. The Geological Antiquarian can safely rank his 
treasures of the youngest date as of an age of which the 
builders of your old castle had no traditionary knowledge. 

W. D. Conybeare ' is in town, and has been with us for 
some time. He is waiting for the arrival of the new Lyme 
Regis Plesiosaunis, of which he has an excellent drawing. 
The Duke of Buckingham has bought it, but it will be exhi- 
bited for some time at our rooms, 20 Bedford Street. It 
affords a great anatomical triumph to Conybeare, as most of 
his hypothetical restorations in his former memoirs turn out 
true to nature. The new animal is a very perfect skeleton, 
and a prodigy, for it has forty cervical vertebrae, whereas 
existing quadrupeds range from seven to nine, reptUes from 
three to nine. Aves reach no higher than twenty, the swan 
being the maximum. What a leap have we here, and how 
many links in the chain will geology have to supply. 

Believe me, very truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 
' Eev. William Conybeare, Dean of Llandaffi, geologist, b. 1787, d. 1857 


To His Tathee. 

Bristol : June 6, 1824. 

. My dear Father, — T arrived here on Saturday with Mons. 
Prevost, after a very pleasant tour. We went to Gloucester 
0.nd to Talfield, sixteen miles on the road to Bristol, where 
I called on Dr. Cooke at Tortworth Eectory. The Rector was 
not at home. By good fortune, however, his friend Mr. 
Weaver, a member of the Geological Society, who has made 
himself very eminent by his writings, was staying there, and 
keeping house. He received us with the greatest cordiality, 
made us breakfast and dine there for two days, and gave us 
more information than I had ever received in the same time. 
The Rectory is the most beautiful and picturesque spot in 
the world. It stands, like Airlie Castle (to descend from the 
sublime to the geological), on the Old Red-Sandstone Conglo- 
merate, and on proceeding northwards all the beds which the 
Isla present are formed in succession, in particular the 
Cortachie slate, which contains organic remains here, proving 
it to belong to the transition-limestone series. The identity 
of these beds, so carefully studied here, throws such a light 
on Forfarshire, that my tour has been inestimable to me, 
were it merely for that, more particularly as Maculloch, not 
having compared this portion of English geology with Scot- 
land, has no suspicion of it. The calcareous part, which un- 
fortunately for us is wanting in Scotland, happens to be 
feeble at Tortworth, and this helped to make the analogy 
more striking to me. We came from Tortworth to Bristol, 
where Mr. Conybeare had been expecting us for three days. 
I do not expect to get farther west than Plymouth. Pre- 
vost's Norman paper attaches him to the Oolites chiefly, 
and makes him unwilling to approach the more ancient 

He is so good a naturalist, that I shall learn much from 
him. He is wonderfully struck with the beauty of our 
roads and stage coaches in England. This town looks dull, 
though I believe the commerce is thriving moderately. 
With my love to all, believe me your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 


To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Bartley Lodge, Southampton : July 9, 1824. 

My dear Sir, — The three letters -which you have sent me, 
and which are still unanswered, arrived in town when I was 
absent on a tour with Mons. Constant Prevost, a Trench 
geologist whom you know from his works. 

I am glad you are persevering in enriching your collec- 
tion, which is becoming generally celebrated, and will soon 
be more known since the visit of our Oxford Professor, who 
was much struck with it. 

My friend Prevost studied anatomy for three years, under 
Cuvier, and as he is intending to visit England again this 
summer, he will if possible call on yoii at Lewes. I gave 
him your address, and assured him that he would meet with 
a welcome from you. It would be of use to his geological 
work in Normandy to see your fossils, and I doubt not you 
will derive much light from his remarks on your osteological 

Three weeks since a magnificent specimen of an Ichthyo- 
saiirus (tenuirostris ?) was discovered at Lyme by the 
celebrated Mary Anning. It is about the size of the Plesio- 
saurus which you saw in town. M. Prevost took a drawing 
of it, which I have traced, and I send it you, that you may 
see it, as it will be long probably ere it is published. The 
sketch was taken by measurement, and, although rapidly, 
yet may be depended upon. While we were at Lyme we 
witnessed the discovery of a superb skeleton of Ichthyosaurus 
vulgaris, by Miss Anning. It was perfect, save the tail, 
which a cart-wheel had passed over. It was two feet long. 
Believe me, yours very truly, 

Charles Lyell. 

To His Pathee. 

Airlie Castle : August 10, 1824, 

My dear Father, — I rode with Chambers ^ round the 
plantations. They have all received a check by the severe 
winter of 1822-23, which is evident. As the top of the 

' The gardener at Kinnordy. 

154 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

Castle Hill is so prominent, it would be worth while to take 
out the few Scotch firs, and substitute healthy young larches, 
which, if they do not grow so high, will still be lifted above 
the rest of the wood. I went through the peat moss, the 
draining of which proceeds rapidly. The number of wasps 
in the garden is unprecedented. Chambers has accordingly 
introduced ' commissioned bottles,' i.e. bottles made expressly 
by his direction, eight dozen of which are emptied every two 
days, f uU of dead wasps, but ' the plague,' he says, ' is 

I am obliged to finish this letter before breakfast, and 
have scarcely time to tell you of my ten days' tour with 
Captain Ogilvy, which was most successful, and puts the 
geology of the county in a new light, as little suspected by 
Blackadder or MacuUoch. The Siedlaws are what Werner 
termed ' a saddle,' the stratification being this, the older 
beds in the centre, flanked by younger ones ; but what is still 
more interesting, the centre beds are the same as appear on 
the Isla between Airlie Castle and the Mill of Craig, or 
between Kinnordy and Catlaw. 

The discovery of the New Red Sandstone explains many 
anomalies which Dr. Fleming made by confounding it with 
the Old. We went by Dundee, Arbroath, and Lunan Bay. 
I drew the whole coast from boats, and we examined it 
thoroughly, not stopped by rain a single day. Paid a visit 
at Tannadice on our way back. Lord Airlie arrived here 
last night, and is going to shooting quarters forthwith. Left 
all well in Paris except Mrs. Drummond. He has given Glen 
Moy ' to Sir J. Ogilvy and me, but I shall begin with 

Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Kinnordy : September 6, 1824. 
My dear Father, — I am much obliged to you for having 
shown my friend Prevost an English race-course. On Tues- 
day morning I set out with Drummond, to the North Esk.^ 

° Shooting quarters. 

' Thomas Drummond, botanist. Went to North America as assistant 

1824. DR. BUCKLAND. 155 

Went by Hill of Careston, from wUch there is a glorious view 
of the Strath. I lodged at the shooting quarter, an inn of 
Maule's at Gannachy Bridge, close to the burn. Made 
myself master in four days of the grand succession of strata 
seen between Gannachy and the granite of Mount Battoek, 
from the summit of which the view is very fine. We saw 
Aberdeen well, Loch na Garr, Ben Macdui, Cairngorum, &c. 
I improved myself much in geology, and Drummond also, who 
knew nothing, but was very anxious for a cram. The 
weather was delightful. I was to have gone to Airlie 
Castle yesterday, but begged off a day in order to arrange 
my concerns. I drive there to-day, and we are then to 
examine the Ericht from Blairgowrie upwards (perfectly un- 
explored ground), and then on Friday to dine together (the 
captain and I) at Pearsie, and stay a day or two there. I 
have received a most friendly letter from Buckland, in which 
he tells me that he has just finished his expedition to the 
Hebrides, and wishes me to accompany him on a visit to Sir 
George Mackenzie's at Cowl (in Eoss-shire ?), and on a short 
tour, by Aberdeen, Inverness, down Loch Ness, Fort 
Augustus, &c., all to take less than ten days. He offers to 
make his time in some measure suit mine. I have chosen 
within two days of what he proposes, and have told him he 
must spend one day here, that I may show him the place, 
and also some specimens on which I have doubts, besides my 
map, &c. It will be I expect about the 15th of this month. 
I look forward to no small amusement in being ten days with 
him, when he is so full of new matter, as he must be after a 
visit to the Western Isles, so interesting and disputed a 
field for geological inquiry. On Saturday a pair of antlers 
were taken out of the marl two feet deep in the loch here 
quite perfect and of uncommon beauty. The frontal bone 
is entire, and supports them well. They have nine points or 
branches, and measure more than ten inches round in the 
thickest part. It will be a great ornament to the house. 
Some of the jaw and teeth were found also. The loch also 
produced me a fine dish of fish for dinner yesterday. There 
is a great sale of marl this year. Among the speculators 

naturalist to Dr. Kichardson, under Sir John Franklin, and afterwards col- 
lected plants in the southern United States, and died at Havannah in 1834. 

156 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vi. 

who are investing their capital in buildings in the New 
Town of Kerry, on the South Muir, is Mr. John Chambers, 
forester at Kinnordy. 

Tour affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Cowl, Eoss-shire : September 26, 1824. 
My dear Eleanor, — A fall of snow, which has surprised 
the good people here in the midst of their harvest, gives me 
an hour's leisure to write to you, in answer to your account 
of the Salisbury gaieties, for which I have to thank you. 
We arrived here yesterday morning from Inverness, and 
shall probably quit it to-morrow for Brora in Sutherland- 
shire, where my companion has an interesting point to 
examine, otherwise we might both find no small entertain- 
ment here for a longer stay, as it is one of the most delight- 
ful houses I ever visited. Sir George Mackenzie took a 
long walk with the Professor and me, both yesterday 
and to-day. He is very gentlemanlike and intelligent, and 
full of information. He was very desirous to show Mr. 
Buckland a set of parallel roads on the small scale in a 
valley here, and was evidently astonished with the rapidity 
with which the Professor seized all the facts, and gave a most 
excellent theory to account for them. They will make a 
pretty figure in the second volume of the ' Reliquise Diluvise,' 
which Mr. Buckland is just going to publish. The country 
here is very beautiful, the hill scenery picturesque, particu- 
larly at the present moment, when Ben Wyvis and the 
higher hills are covered with snow. There are some of the 
largest oaks near the house that I have yet seen in Scotland, 
and the hills are clothed with birch to some height. The 
house is new, and does credit to Sir George's taste. We 
have of course been looking over our host's magnificent 
collection of mineralogical treasures from Iceland. But his 
present hobby is vitrified forts, on which he has advertised a 
work, in which he is to attack Dr. Maculloch. Lady 
M. is a very ladylike woman, and her two daughters 
pleasant girls. They have four or five sons of all ages. We 

i824- VISIT TO COWL. 167 

are to liave Lord Pitmilly, one of the Scotch judges, to dinner 
to-day, who is on the circuit. But I must now beg leave to 
treat you with a little retrospective history of my adventures. 
Mr. Buckland was so desirous of clearing up some puzzles 
which presented themselves on the banks of the Carrity near 
Kinnordy, that he agreed to see the Isla, and as this was 
found more than a day's work, we accepted Captain Ogilvy^s 
pressing invitation, and dined and slept at Airlie Castle, 
and finished the Isla and Melgum next day, and after dining 
again with Captain 0. returned to Kinnordy, and started 
next morning for Stonehaven. Saw Dunnotter Castle the same 
evening, and next day boated it to Aberdeen, and saw the 
termination of the Grampians in the sea cliffs. At Aberdeen 
we were in high luck, for Dr. Knight, Professor of Natural 
Philosophy, was an acquaintance of Mr. Buckland's, and 
invited us to go with him to an annual dinner, at which we 
saw the Principals of the two Universities, Dr. Jack and Dr. 
Brown, and all the Professors. The next morning we 
breakfasted at Dr. Knight's, then dined with Dr. Forbes, 
Professor of Natural History. The Duke of Gordon, 
Chancellor of the University, was there, an old man of 
eighty, not at all superannuated, and well worth seeing. We 
attended the same day the assizes, and heard the Chief 
Justice Clerk condemn a thief for burglary. The next 
morning we breakfasted with Dr. Glennie, Professor of 
Moral Philosophy, a clever man, married to the niece and 
representative of Dr. Beattie the poet. There is in their 
room a most beautiful portrait of Dr. Beattie by Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, which has kept its colour. After seeing every- 
thing worth examining in geology at Aberdeen, we left it in 
company with a young advocate, son of Sir J. Hall, an 
acquaintance of Buckland's, who left us the day after. He 
was an agreeable addition to our party, as far as he went, 
viz. to Peterhead, from whence to Cowl I have little to speak 
of, as we passed it rapidly, but Portsoy, Elgin, and Inverness 
presented us with some things worthy of notice. 

I have no more time save to hope that, when I return to 
Kinnordy a week hence, I shall find papa and Tom arrived. 
In the meantime, believe me, with my love to all at Bartley, 
your affectionate brother, Chakles Ltell. 


To His Mother, at Bartlet Lodge. 

Edinburgh: October 18, 1824. 
My dear Mother, — In my way through Perth I learnt 
that my father was expected at Kinnordy on the eleventh. 
I conclude, therefore, that he is now there, and take an 
opportunity of giving you some account of my proceedings 
since I left Cowl. Mr. Buckland went from Eoss-shire to 
Brora in Sutherland, and in examiuing that district we got 
within a moderate day's journey of John O'Groat's House. 
We then returned to Inverness, and travelled thence, ia a gig, 
along the Caledonian Canal, by the Fall of Foyers and Fort 
Augustus, then visited the parallel roads of Glen Roy beyond 
Letter Finlay, one of the grandest natural phenomena in 
Great Britain. We next went by Glen Spean, Dalwhinnie, 
and Dalnacardoch to Blair Athole, with which and Glen 
Tilt we were much pleased. We then came by Killiecrankie 
and Perth to Edinburgh. Here we have worked very hard 
for a week in the geology of the neighbourhood, and in cabi- 
nets, museums, &c., and have had an excellent opportunity 
of seeing all the leading characters in the University. We 
have been at breakfasts and dinners without end, at Professor 
Jamieson's twice, at Professor Wallace's, Dr. Hibbert's, Mr. 
Allen's, four times. Dr. Greville's, &c. &c. 

From Edinburgh we made a geological excursion with 
Dr. Hibbert to Linlithgow, Falkirk, and Stirling, which 
proved very successful. We then went to Dunglass, Sir 
James Hall's,' a very elegant and stylish place, about eight 
miles from Dunbar. The old gentleman is far past his prime, 
but luckily Captain Basil Hall, the author of the ' Voyage to 
South America,' was there, whom I had often met in town. 
He is one of the most gentlemanlike and clever men I have 
ever met with. We made some great expeditions to St. 
Abb's Head and other parts of the coast with Sir James and 
his son, and a Mr. Allison, advocate, on a visit there. Lady 
Helen Hall is daughter of the late Lord Selkirk ; the two 
unmarried daughters are very pleasant, one of them very 
pretty. We came home yesterday morning in order to spend 

' Natural Philosopher, b. 1760, d. 1832. 


the forenoon and dine at Craig Crook Castle, tlie country 
house of the far-famed Francis Jeffrey.^ This was a great 
treat. He is a little man, of very gentlemanlike appearance 
and manner. Shines in conversation, whether on trifling or 
important topics. After his showing us round the grounds 
and neighboui'hood, we met at dinner. Sir H. Parnell, M.P., 
and Mr. Murray, and others. The dinner and wine in great 
style. Among others at the dinner was Mr. Maciilloch, who 
gave the celebrated lectures on Political Economy in town 
last summer, which I attended. He was an acquaintance of 
mine, and pressed me to dine with him to-day, which I am to 
do. I expect much amusement from the party. Mr. Buck- 
land left this to-day for Alnwick Castle. I return to Xin- 
nordy to-morrow. 

With my love to all, believe me, my dear mother, 

Tour affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

' The eminent critic, editor of the ' Edinburgh Review,' and, later, one of 
he judges in the Court of Session, Scotland. 

160 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. vii. 


JTJLT 1825 — DECEMBER 1827. 


[Mr. Lyell's eyes having become stronger, he resumed the study 
of the law at his father's request, and was called to the bar in 1825, 
and went the Western Cii-cuit for two years. He published a geo- 
logical paper in Brewster's ' Edinburgh Journal of Science ' on a dike 
of Serpentine cutting through Old Ked Sandstone in the county of 
Forfar, which is perhaps one of the best examples of Serpentine in 
this country, with all its characteristic mineral peculiarities intruding 
itself in the manner of trap in the sedimentary strata. A paper on 
shell marl, and fossil fruit of Charse, was printed in the Transactions 
of the Geological Society this same year. 

In 1826 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he wrote 
papers on the Plastic Clay near Christchurch in Hampshire, and on 
the freshwater strata of Hordwell Cliff, Hants. 

His family left Bartley Lodge in the New Forest, Hants, to reside 
at the famOy seat, Kinnordy, Forfarshire. 

In 1827 Mr. L3'ell wrote in the ' Quarterly Review ' an article 
on Scrope's 'Geology of Central France,' in which he showed how 
entirely he had imbibed the opinions of Playfair and Hutton, and 
considered that all geological monuments were to be interpreted by 
reference to aqueous and igneous causes in action in the ordinary 
course of nature.] 


To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Bartley Lodge, Southampton : July 20, 1825. 
My dear Sir, — I went to Fitton's when he came to town 
for a few days in the beginning of this week, and was not a 

1825. CLATHRARWM. 161 

little gratified at being there when the Clathrarium, my 
namesake, was found.' 

You might have felt secure that so beautiful a specimen 
as it really is would never have been thrown away even by 
mistake at the house of a geologist. Though I did not see 
Chantrey ^ about the Iguanodon's teeth, yet I have no fear 
of their safety, and that they will at length in his hands, like 
the teeth of Cadmus's dragon, be productive of a fruitful 
crop. Pitton has promised to inquire about them. He has 
just returned from examining the ' Valley of Elevation,' as 
Buckland calls it, at Highclere, which I consider as caused by 
a continuation of that elevating force which acted in a line 
along the central axis of your great saddle of Surrey, Kent, 
and Sussex, and which, if prolonged, would have elevated 
the firestone beds (for such they prove to be) at Highclere. 

All this took place after the deposition of the London 
Clay, and before it happened, the Plastic and London Clays 
of the Hants and London basin were horizontally connected. 
The chalk which now separates them was pushed up through 
them, for, as Buckland observes, the highest chalk summit at 
Inkpen Hill is still covered by decided Plastic Clay. Tour 
great valley is not a valley of denudation. I do not agree 
with Buckland that much chalk has been carried away 
between the north and south downs, for as two sides of a 
triangle must be longer than the base, so when the horizontal 
chalk was inclined from below London to the north downs, 
and again from Lewes to Heaven knows how many miles 
under the sea, how could there be other than an opening of 
some miles ? 

I remain here for a month or more, and perhaps may go 
to Dresden to learn German this summer, or rather autumn, 
but I am not sure. Buckland, you know, is made by Lord 
Liverpool a canon of Christ's Church, a good house, 1,000Z. 
per annum, and no residence or duty required. Surely such 
places ought to be made also for lay geologists. 
Believe me, yours very truly, 

Chaelbs Ltbll. 

' ClathrariaLyelli, a fossil plant from the Wealden in Sussex. SeeManteU's 
Medals of Creation. 

^ Sir Francis Chantrey, sculptor. 
VOL. I. M 


To His Sistee. 

November 20, 1825. 
My dear Marianne, — As chief keeper of the Bartleyan or 
Lyellian Entomological Museum (for when we talk of small 
things we should help them up with high-sounding names) 
you may fairly expect me to report progress. The treasure 
I brought to town remained peaceably in my cupboard till 
the first evening meeting of the Linnean Society, when I 
took in my pocket the small mahogany box, and you would 
have been amused to see the greediness with which the 
collectors examined two or three good things, and Curtis ' 
was congratulated on having met with one so easily pigeoned, 
for I told him to help his collection if he could. I after- 
wards took him the other moths, and you will be glad to 
hear that one small buff Nodua filled a chasm in his collec- 
tion {N. Plavilinia) not in Donovan. He told me once 
that nothing was wanting in his that was not worth a 
guinea. But the grand treasure is a new moth. Which 
think you ? That ugly black Noctua of the size of Gamma 
with white petticoats {alias under- wings) , which ' you and 
the other slaves of the lamp ' caught one night. I left at 
least one more of them at Hartley. This I conceive was a 
guinea one. I have given it to Curtis, and in return he 
presents us with Sphinx Tilea and many moths, and pro- 
mises much m.ore in payment besides naming them all. 
But he says there are so few collectors in Scotland, that if 
you choose to collect, without ever going out of the garden 
at Kinnordy, you may purchase with Forfarshire Phalmnce 
an English collection worth many hundred pounds. Curtis 
found so many things ia Scotland last year, that he talks of 
publishing an account of his cruise. The number of collec- 
tors of British Lepidoptera in town is very great, and makes 
an extensive barter of Scotch insects the easiest thing pos- 
sible. Of the latter, 30 new Lepidoptera were found by 
Curtis last summer, but in England, though they have 1,500 
species, they seldom get a new one, even a minikin. 
With my love, believe me your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

' John Curtis, Esq., F.K.S., author of British Entomology. 


To His Sistbe. 

London : December 4, 1825. 

My dear Eleanor, — I really wish that some of you, or all 
of you, would write to me now and then. To confess to you 
the truth, I have been a little homesick since in town, and 
after spending six very agreeable weeks without a grievance 
at Bartley, 1 have missed the sight of a friend's cheerful 
countenance tiU last week, when the Fittons, Buckland, 
and Dr. Daubeny and Scrope,* came to town. However, I 
have given in my resignation as Secretary for the end of 
the year, and will revenge myself on Greenough & Co. by 
an additional week if possible at Bartley at Christmas. 
Coleridge informed me yesterday that he has given up the 
Quarterly, and that Lockhart comes from Edinburgh in a week 
to take it. He could not get my paper into his last number, 
but would have put it into the next, with certain parts 
abridged. He showed me how Gifford formerly cut to 
pieces his papers, and this encouraged me much. Indeed, 
had 1 been aware how difficult a task even for such a man 
as Coleridge it had been to fit an article for the Review, I 
should never have presumed to write. I have at all events 
made Coleridge's acquaintance, and though I expect to be 
wrecked in the attempt to pilot myself into the graces of a 
new editor, I shall not be ashamed with such encourage- 
ment to run the gauntlet. Scrope wants me to pay a visit 
to Waverley Abbey, but I shall not go, at least at present. 
He is a clever, gentlemanlike man of fortune, of my own 
age, and has just published a very creditable work on 
Volcanoes. — Ever your affectionate brother, 

Chakles Ltell. 

' George Poulett Scrope, son of G. P. Thomson of Waverley Abbey, b. 
1797, d. 1875. He showed an early taste for geology, and adopted Hutton's 
doctrines. Author of The Geology and Extinct Volcanoes of Central France, 
and other works. 

M 2 


To G. Mantell, Esq. 

Temple : January 3, 1826. 

My dear Sir, — I have received your book and paid for it, 
whicli I hope your subscribers will do more punctually than 
MaccuUoch swears his do. 

Your eulogium on my ' profound legal knowledge,' though 
a severe quiz upon me, has not been quite so much a subject 
of amusement to my friends as I anticipated. Buckland, 
however, was not a little merry yesterday at my expense. I 
told Murchison not to laugh too freely, for I should get you by 
way of a set-off to omit it in the second edition, and to substi- 
tute for it ' but more particularly to Mr. Murchison, Sec. 
G. S., whose scientific acquirements, no less than his splendid 
military achievements in the Peninsula under the Duke of 
Wellington during the late war, are so well known and 

Buckland has got a letter from India about modern 
hyasnas, whose manners, habitations, diet, &c., are every- 
thing he could wish, and as much as could be expected had 
they attended regularly three courses of his lectures. 
Yours very truly, 

Charles Ltell. 

To G. Mantell, Esq. 

9 Crown Office Row, Temple : June 22, 1826. 
My dear Sir, — I much regret missing you, particularly 
as I had just got a copy of my paper ready for you. I live 
near my old rooms. Do not talk of the G. S. As long as 
Wr.rburton allows the whole to rest on his sole shoulders, 
and has a large mercantile business, and a hundred other 
hobbies besides the principal one, the London University 
(to which is now added M.P. for Bridport), so long publica- 
tion or real utility is out of the question ; and a secretary 
might as well try to bring about reform, as Warburton in 
his new capacity to throw open all the rotten boroughs. 
But enough of this. I must not sport radical, as I am become 
a Quarterly Reviewer. You will see my article just out on 


' Scientific Institutions,' by whicli some of my friends liere 
tliink I have carried the strong works of the enemy by storm. 
I am now far on with a second, and hope to get it out in 
less than three months. I mean to help myself out of 
Cuvier largely, for I must write what will he read. The 
Plesiosaurus is delightful, so is Stonefield and Cuckfield. If 
you can send me comments on Buckland, I will use them 
delicately : also say how much of the great skeleton you have 
now got together. I would give eight or ten lines to your 
Museum — more I hardly can — if you would put down on 
this osteological topic any fact that is marvellous, also any- 
thing about the vegetation that you have gathered from 
Ad. Brongniart. This would come in in another place. 
I am over full of work, so believe me yours faithfully, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Temple, London : November 16, 1826. 

My dear Father, — My breakfast with Lockhart this 
morning was exceedingly pleasant. Sir Walter Scott is in 
the first place a far more genteel-looking man than Phillips 
has represented him in his portrait, which, as I had supposed 
that to be flattering, surprised me considerably. His 
hobbling was much greater than I had fancied. There was 
only his daughter. Miss Scott, Mrs. Lockhart, a Dr. Gooch, 
King's Librarian, and a Dr. Macculloch, a medical man. Sir 
Walter was very cheerful, told a number of good stories on 
subjects always started by others. They were more remark- 
able for the rich fund he had of them, than for anything 
else. None of them were brilliant, but all pleasant. For 
instance, a Mr. Simpson was talked of. ' Ah, how is Jemmy ? 
I shall not forget his coming into the theatre just as Mrs. 
Siddons had entered her box, and been received by a round 
of applause from the audience. Jemmy, seeing no one on 
the stage, inquired the cause. " It is a mark of esteem and 
consideration the public have for you, Mr. S.," said a friend. 
Jemmy went to the f ron t of his box and made three low 
bows, to the infinite amusement of all who knew him. — Now 

166 S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. vii. 

ttat was a cruel joke.' His language is remarkably far 
i'rom being refined, there is positively a blunt simplicity in 
it. ' The French,' he said, ' are certainly in better humour 
with the English than formerly — we are wp there.' When 
the increasing Catholicism was talked of, he said, ' I think 
it will not go beyond a party, but I wish the royal family 
may not run their heads against that thing.' He said, ' Yes- 
terday I was at Chantrey's, and recommend you all to go 
and see his statue of Washington.' Lockhart said, ' As 
portrait-painting is so profitable, I wonder there is not one 
good painter now but Sir Thomas Lawrence.' I observed 
' Phillips has surely painted some excellent portraits.' Sir 
Walter replied, ' Yes — but Phillips is quite a hit and miss 
man.' Sir Walter declared himself no judge of the art, but 
went on making some curious remarks on the peculiar diffi- 
culties painters now labour under, compared to the great 
masters of old, and added, ' I have seen a great advance in 
the English school since I remember.' Mrs. Lockhart is a 
very agreeable person. Lockhart sent me a paper in slips 
the other day on our ' Public Schools,' to ask me my opinion. 
I rewrote some passages relating to the introduction of 
elementary information in Natural History, &c , which he 
has adopted, as well as other suggestions. My plan is now 
to write an article next number but one, on ' Scotch Univer- 
sities,' or our whole system in Great Britain and Ireland, 
which I begin to hope I shall master. In the number after 
a Geological article, already on the stocks; and then, if I can 
manage it, a shorter paper on our Scotch and English 
scientific journals, and Scotch and Irish scientific institu- 
tions. — Believe me your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

London : January 5, 1827. 

My dear Marianne, — I am glad to hear that, notwith- 
standing a tiger broke loose,^ so little damage was done in 
the menagerie. I hope that the first week the house is free 
' In the insect box. 


from company you will proceed not only to arrange, but to 
reset everything that stands at all in need of it, for I can 
promise you that unless you get on you will have more on 
your hands than you can manage when Curtis's next box, 
with a certain arrival from another quarter, which I have 
just heard is on the road, reaches you. I staid with Sped- 
ding ^ a week at Cambridge, at Trinity Hall, learnt much 
from Professor Henslow ^ and his friends, to whom he intro- 
duced me, about the Cambridge system, for my paper ; made 
an agreeable acquaintance in Marmaduke Eamsay, brother 
of Sir Alexander Ramsay, a gentlemanlike Fellow of Jesus. 
Grand festivities at Trinity Hall and St. John's, great 
dinners, suppers, and male routs. I paid my expenses by 
what I won at whist, though I revoked one night ! Copley," 
Master of the Rolls, was at Trinity Hall, most excellent 
company. He conversed easily with every one, and upon 
my mere general introduction there, he talked with me when 
we met at other colleges. Lord Palmerston made me a stiff 
bow, the contrast of his manner to Copley was entertaining, 
for his was a perpetual canvas and acting a part. He said 
that Dr. Spiirtzheim (who has lately lectured at Cambridge) 
was ' an ingenious humbug,' which is just what most men, 
even his supporters, think of him at the University. One 
night, when I went to hear the Hymn at Trinity Chapel, I 
f eU in with William Ramsay of Bamff, in his surplice. The 
new buildings are beautiful, and will immortalise Wilkinson 
the architect. I begin to think I must divide my article into 
two, and write the first chiefly on the English universities. 
If Lockhart cannot stand it, I will try Jeffrey. I am going 
to Devizes Sessions on Monday next, three days' work. I 
think you will get more chilblains than colymbetes in the 
loch in winter. WTien you fish there take shells also, as I 
should publish a list in some future m.arl paper. When I 
called yesterday on Mrs. Smythe,^ I caught her making an 
abstract from La Place's ' Astronomy ' of those facts and 
speculations which could be made intelligible to persons not 
mathematicians. Her selection is so beautiful and striking, 

' T. S. Spedding, of Mise House, Cumberland. 

' Professor of Botany. » Afterwards Lord Lyndhurst. 

" Wife of Admiral Smythe. 

168 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vii. 

that when it is finished I shall get a copy. Professor Hens- 
low says that the Cambridge and Huntingdonshire marshes 
swarm in some seasons with Madiaons and Lyccena dispar, 
and he will get me some. He showed me a good beginning 
of a collection of British insects at their Philosophical 

Tour affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To G. Mantell, Esq. 

London : March 2, 1827. 

My dear Sir, — On my return from the circuit yesterday 
I found your second letter, having received the first with 
Lamarck at Dorchester. You know that half my time is 
now spent at Sessions, Circuits, &c., and must not therefore 
be surprised when you receive no immediate answers to your 
correspondence, which I always receive with great pleasure. 
I devoured Lamarck en voyage, as you did Sismondi, and 
with equal pleasure. His theories delighted me more than 
any novel I ever read, and much in the same way, for they 
address themselves to the imagination, at least of geologists 
who know the mighty inferences which would be deducible 
were they established by observations. But though 1 admire 
even his flights, and feel none of the odium theologieum 
which some modern writers in this country have visited him 
with, I confess I read him rather as I hear an advocate on 
the wrong side, to know what can be made of the case in 
good hands. I am glad he has been courageous enough aud 
logical enough to admit that his argument, if pushed as far 
as it must go, if worth anything, would prove that men may 
have come from the Ourang-Outang. But after all, what 
changes species may really undergo ! How impossible will it 
be to distinguish and lay down a line, beyond which some of 
the so-caUed extinct species have never passed into recent 
ones. That the earth is quite as old as he supposes, has long 
been my creed, and I will try before six months are over to 
convert the readers of the Quarterly to that heterodox 
opinion. I should like to discuss these matters with you at 
Lewes, but between law excursions and town studies, I have 


never a moment to spare. If ever I can I vrill, and give you 
notice, and can assure you, that I know I shall receive a wel- 
come, and you need not, therefore, repeat your kind invitation. 
1 wish among your new Groombridge fossils there had 
been a good cetacean, for theoretically it would be of more 
importance than the iguanodon. Not that I doubt some of 
the oolitic cetacea. I am going to write in confirmation of 
ancient causes having been the same as modern, and to show 
that those plants and animals which we know are becoming 
preserved now, are the same as were formerly. B.g., scarcely 
any insects now, no lichens, no mosses, &c., ever get to places 
where they can become imbedded in strata. But quadrupeds 
do in lakes, reptiles in estuaries, corals in. reefs, fish in sea, 
plants wherever there is water, salt or fresh, &c. &c. Now 
have you ever in Lewes levels found a bird's skeleton or any 
cetacea ? if not, why in Tilgate and the Weald beds ? In our 
Scotch marl, though water birds abound in those lakes, we 
meet with no birds in the marl ; and they must be at least as 
rare as in old freshwater formations, for they are much 
worked and examined. You see the drift of my argument — 
&Tgo, mammalia existed when the oolite and coal, &c., were 
formed. Broderip ' says, that in spite of all the dogs and 
cats which float down the Thames, none of their remains 
have been found in recent excavations in the Thames depo- 
sits. Send me your thoughts on the subject. If I am asked 
why in coal there are no quadrupeds ? I answer, why are there 
none, nor any cetacea, nor any birds, nor any reptiles in the 
plastic clay, or lignite formation, a very analogous deposit, 
and as universal in Europe ? Think of these matters, and 
believe me yours most truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

April 10, 1827. 

My dear Father, — I was glad to hear this morning from 
Kinnordy, as I had had no news since you were snowed up. 
Leonard Horner is in town from Edinburgh, very d -propos to 

' William John Broderip, zoologist, especially devoted to molluscous 
animals, died 1859. 


keeping me right in my article, as he is a great education 
man, as well as geologist. His gratitude to me for having 
got into the ' Quarterly Eeview ' an article on the liberal side 
of geology is very agreeable. He is eager to serve me, and 
wanted me to let him go carefully over the article, with his 
friend Brougham, which I begged him not to do, as Mr. 
Brougham might make a good joke out of revisals of ' Quar- 
terly Review ' articles. Horner himself is a safe man. 
Brougham had second business, next to Scarlett, this last 
circuit, a fine thing. He has published two pamphlets which 
I have not read, one ' On the Pleasures of Education to the 
Poor,' and the other on Hydrostatics, which are having 
a prodigious sale : they talk of ten thousand copies going 
off in a short time. Scrope has just published a volume on 
Auvergne, with beautiful panoramic and geological views of 
the country. As I am, with many others, indignant at an 
atrocious article which Macculloeh^ vnrote on his late work 
on volcanoes, in the Westminster, I am determined to give 
him a moderately long article in the ' Quarterly Review,' a 
sort of abstract which I conceive will take one-fourth the 
time of an original article, and the latter, as far as science is 
concerned, should not be, I am clear, given to a periodical. 
All that Fitton means, can be done easily in an elementary 
book, like Mrs. Marcet's ' Conversations on Chemistry,' for 
which one might get well paid, without much credit, and 
without putting one's name, and which is greatly wanted. 
But if I wrote anything, I would wait longer (unless I was 
in want of cash), and certainly a work even elementary, which 
would gain one reputation, would neither be done in a few 
months nor easily. I have my doubts as to leaving sessions 
on the score of economy. I found the additional time of 
which I am master, in consequence of ostensibly following a 
profession, is very great, and perhaps the 30Z. that sessions 
cost me, might be annually returned by an additional article, 
which I might be thereby enabled to write. It is wonderful 
how little mercy one's friends have on one's time, if one has 
no excuse deemed valid for declining unprofitable parties, 
or refereeships of papers, or secretaryships, &c. The circuit 

^ Author of Description of the Western Islands of Sootltmd, and other 

1827. ENTOMOLOGY. 171 

costs under SOL, everything included. My purse would not 
have required replenishing for some time, but I am much 
obliged to you for anticipating my wants as usual. I find 
them diminish monthly, in proportion as I am more agree- 
ably employed, and if with the willingness to work and 
industry which I now have, I had any chance of earning what 
I require by my own exertions, I should be without a care, 
as far as I am myself concerned. But to be willing without 
avail to work hard, and almost for nothing, is now the fate 
of many hundreds of barristers, and many millions of our 
labouring classes, and we must congratulate ourselves at not 
being among the latter. I am quite clear, from all that I 
have yet seen of the world, that there is most real indepen- 
dence in that class of society who, possessing moderate means, 
are engaged in literary and scientific hobbies ; and that in 
ascending from them upwards, the feeling of independence 
decreases pretty nearly in the same ratio as the fortunes 
increase. My eyes go on tolerably, and I feel my facility of 
composition increases, and hope to make friends among 
those that a literary reputation will procure me who may 
assist me. 

Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 


Dear Marianne, — Curtis sends^ne a note to say that there 
are good things among the Spring insects, and says the Miss 
Lyells will do wonders in Scotland. He hopes you will get 
some general knowledge of botany, as a little knowledge 
even of the wild Scotch plants would, he says, double the 
value of your entomological information. It is a singular 
proof of how much more is to be done in entomology in 
North Britain than in botany, that Curtis found in his ex- 
cursion last summer in Lepidoptera alone thirty insects new 
to Britain, and some quite unknown and new ; while Dr. 
Hooker has never found more than, how many plants ? not 
ten, I think I recollect. Tou will be glad to hear that Mr. 
Vigors has sent five specimens of the clear-winged Sphinx 

172 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vii. 

' tulipiformis' and a great many Socturna and Coleopttra. &c., 
all named, as a present to oui- collection. I told him that 
Curtis -was to have the fii-st picking of whatever you got in 
Forfarshire, to which he said, 'I was once in Edinburgh, and 
collected only for two days in June, and I would give all my 
duplicates for half the things I got in those two days.' I 
met with the Eev. D. Cooke, nephew of the geologist. He 
says when he next sends to Curtis he will send for us that 
beautiful insect Carahts nitens. and wants fi-om us Chnjso- 
mela Banlsii in return, of which you should send up four 
the first opportunity, 

Toui- affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sisteb. 

Temple: December 9, ISiT. 

My dear Caroline, — Captain Smythe' called here, in town 
for a few days. Mrs. S. and family quite well, and like 
Bedford much. He is building a very fine observatory, the 
Astronomical Society having done him the honour of voting 
him the use of some valuable instruments bequeathed to 
them. On Thursday I breakfasted with Dr. Richardson, 
and gathered much useful information in geology from a 
tcte-a-tete with him. On Wednesday I dined at Briscoe's : 
he had been in the tunnel that morning, which is now pro- 
ceeding vigorously. Gurney the engineer seems deteraiined 
to run a steam coach from this to Southampton — the other 
day it went round the Regent's Pai'k without a horse, and 
ran against a gate. But he says he shall put one horse in 
front, who will guide it, and have no weight to pull, but 
merely to canter ten or twelve miles an hour. The machine 
is built. I have sent off a heavy box of fossils for the tower 
[at Kinnordy], a white hare stuffed would be a desirable 
addition. I miss several dogs' jaws and the cat's skull in 
the bones which I brought from the marl.'' When you have 
time, inquire about them. Clift pronounces the bones to 
be the same animals I had supposed, including the wolf, but 

» AdmiiaJ Sjinthe, F.E.A.S., F.G.S. * From the Loch of Kimiordy. 


a few are still to be made out. Of the insects in the marl, 
Curtis says that except two or three he cannot pronounce 
even on the family, they are such mere fragments. If one 
leg or antenna had been found, he says he would have hit off 
the family. Two seemed to be Bembidium, and another, 
Helops Lim. His curiosity, however, is much excited by some 
of the elytra, and if there are many fragments of the marl 
still in the garden, send them, for every morsel has been 
pulled to pieces ; and as for the rock marl with gyragonites, it 
is all gone, and I could dispose of another great box. Curtis 
showed me with much pleasure a noctua sent in your spring 
box. It is new to him, he thinks to all. It comes nearest 
to Hadena pleheia and Leucostegina, but is of a more lively 
grey colour than Aeronida rumicis. As to the small phalwna 
you are quite right. It is the one which he hopes may be 
new ; but he thinks a new noctua of marvellously more im- 
portance than a phalcena. The Miss Walkers caught on 
Ben Nevis and Ben Voirlich, at about 3,000 feet high, some 
new and many rare Lepidoptera, which they have sent Curtis. 
We must positively mount next year. 
Your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Southampton : December 29, 1827. 

My dear Sir, — I am on a visit here to an uncle, where 
some of my sisters are staying, and for a short season am to 
be in a continued round of dinners and balls, but shall at 
least secure a half-hour, in writing to you, from these amuse- 
ments. I hope Dr. Fitton and Mr. Murchison have said 
something to you about filling up the map of Sussex, and 
certain corrections of green sand, &c., near Portsdown 

I marvel less at Dr. 's anticipations (as I supposed 

them) in geological speculation, now that I observe he 
followed Hutton, and cites him. I think he ran unneces- 
sarily counter to the feelings and prejudices of the age. 
This is not courage or manliness in the cause of Truth, nor 
does it promote its progress. It is an unfeeling disregard 

174 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. vii. 

for the weakness of human nature, for as it is our nature 
(for what reason Heaven knows), but as it is constitutional in 
our minds, to feel a morbid sensibility on matters of reli- 
gious faith, I conceive that the same right feeling which 
guards us from outraging too violently the sentiments of our 
neighbours in the ordinary concerns of the world and its 
customs should direct us still more so in this. If I had 
been Sir A. Campbell, I would have punished those Chris- 
tian soldiers who dug up the idols of the Burmese temples 
in the late campaign, and sent them home as trophies. To 
insult their idols was an act of Christian intolerance, and, 
untU we can convert them, should be penal. If a philoso- 
pher commits a similar act of intolerance by insulting the 
idols of an European mob (the popular prejudices of the 
day), the vengeance of the more intolerant herd of the igno- 
rant will overtake him, and he may have less reason to com- 
plain of his punishment than of its undue severity. 
Believe me, most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

i828. AVA FOSSILS. 175 




[In 1828, when he had already planned and made notes for the 
' Principles of Geology,' Mr. Lyell set out on a tour to Auvergne and 
Northern Italy with Mr. Murchison, and after parting from him in 
Lombardy, he continued his journey alone to Rome, Naples, and 
Sicily. The results of this tour appear pai-tly in scientific memoirs 
jointly by his fellow-traveller and himself, and partly in the ' Prin- 
ciples of Geology.' Among the former, is a paper on the Excavation 
of Valleys, as illustrated by the volcanic rocks of Central France, 
read before the Geological Society in 1828, and published the year 
after in the Edinburgh ' New Philosophical Journal ; ' also a paper on 
the Tertiary Strata of the Cantal, published in France, in the ' Annales 
des Sciences,' 1829; and another on the Tertiary Freshwater Strata of 
Aix, ia Provence, in the Edinburgh ' New Philosophical Journal,' 


To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Temple : January 17, 1828. 

My dear Sir, — The best nevrs I can send you is the safe 
arrival in Bedford Street ' of the Ava fossils, of which you 

' Where the Geological Society then was. 

176 S//? CHARLES LYELL. CHAP. viil. 

saw a brief account in Jamieson's last Journal from the 
' Calcutta Gazette.' To say that they surpass in value any 
collection ever brought to Europe, from any other quarter of 
the globe, is to say little. In a few days the Embassy have 
done us a service which a man's lifetime might have been 
deemed well bestowed in rendering. 

Crawford,^ late Governor of Singapore, E.G.S., and author 
in our Transactions, was sent ambassador to the Burman 
King. On his return from Ava, down the Irawaddi, which 
they descended in a steamboat, they were detained many 
days in Lat. 21 IST., the river having been half dried up, and 
the boat stranded. There was a line of hills on each side, 
between the river and the hills, an irregular sandy lowish 
region (about 300 feet above the sea). All over the surface, 
which was nearly bare, silicified fossils were sticking up, 
whose weight perhaps had resisted, when loose sand and 
gravel were washed away. Crawford employed his servants, 
and bribed the natives, to collect, and they filled twelve 
chests ! Almost entire jaws of a new species of mastodon 
as big as an elephant — different from the five species de- 
scribed by Cuvier — smaller teeth of mastodon (Clift says may 
be young ones of same) ; silicified ivory tusk, teeth of 
rhinoceros, fragment of a bone of hippopotamus ; jaws and 
skull of an enormous Gavial ; jaws and teeth of an allio-ator ; 
large scales, &c., of torboisea. Shells apparently freshwater 
— only one species — Sowerby says a Cyrene. Wood trunks 
of trees — monocotyledons, and perhaps dicotyledons —no 
botanist has seen them, structure beautifully preserved, as 
are all the teeth, &c. 

They appear to me to have been all converted into a 
ferruginous chert while most of them were quite perfect, 
both bones and plants. Jamieson is wrong in saying they 
are not at all rolled. They are in some instances slightly 
rounded by attrition, done of course when in a soft state. 
Inside the hollow trunks, and adhering to the bones, is a 
ferruginous gravel exactly like Tilgate aggregate bed. The 
whole room and yard in Bedford Street looks as if it 
were filled with magnificent Tilgate fossils. They are of a 

2 Mr. John Crawford, author of The Emhagsy to Ava. 

1 828. FUTURE WORK. 177 

yellow ferruginous colour. Saurians lying in all directions — • 
here an immense femur, there a long stem-like Clathraria 
Lydli ; here the scale of a large tortoise, there a shell and 
teeth of alligator, &c. &c. They will be exhibited to-morrow, 
and Buckland is expected to lecture on them in the evening, 
after the anniversary dinner. 

Very truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Temple : February 5, 1828. 

My dear Sir, — I have been out of town for ten days in 
Hants, with some of my family who are there on a visit from 
Scotland. We also went to stay at Dr. and Mrs. Buckland's, 
at Oxford. The Canon has a glorious house, and is admir- 
ably set down for himself a.nd geology. 

I at first intended to write ' Conversations on Geology : ' it 
is what no doubt the booksellers, and therefore the greatest 
number of readers, are desirous of. My reason for aban- 
doning this form was simply this; that I found I should 
not do it at all, without taking more pains than such a form 
would do justice to. Besides, I felt that in a subject where 
so much is to be reformed and struck out anew, and where 
one obtains new ideas and theories in the progress of one's 
task, where you have to controvert, and to invent an argu- 
mentation — work is required, and one like the ' Conversations 
on Chemistry ' and others would not do. It should hardly 
be between the teacher and scholar perhaps, but a dialogue 
like Berkeley's Alciphron, between equals. But finally, I 
thought, that when I had made up my own mind and opinions 
in producing another kind of book, I might then construct 
conversations from it. In the meantime there is a cry among 
the publishers for ar elementary work, and I much wish you 
would supply it. Anything from you would be useful, for what 
they have now is positively bad, for such is Jamieson's Cuvier. 

Buckland has been very quiet as yet as to the manifest 
difiiculties of the Ava fossils, but will no doubt hold forth at 
the general meeting. 

Yours most truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 




To De. Fleming.' 

Temple : February 6, 1828. 

My dear Sir, — Lockhart is exceedingly pleased with the 
salmon fishery article, and tells me it had, among other 
merits, that which, unfortunately for him, few papers have, 
and which is no small charm to an editor, the requiring no 
sentence mending, a drudgery which he abhors, and which 
he says cuts up his whole time. Murray also, when I last 
saw him, thanked me for having been the channel of pro- 
curing your article. He has a good publisher's tact for 
knowing beforehand what people will read. Dr. Hooker' 
has at last made up his mind, and rejected the botanical 
chair' here in form. Young Lindley, the Horticultural Gar- 
den Secretary, told me yesterday that even he is now no 
longer a candidate ; thinking, that as there will be no com- 
pulsory attendance for medical students, such a class will be 
precarious and a failure, and that the University do not 
guarantee such a minimum as can warrant a man, who has 
anything certain to give up, in venturing. I fear they have 
made this mistake, that they have not determined to bribe 
able men for the chairs that can scarcely be profitable from 
the classes ; for Babbage viewed it in this light when offered 
the mathematical chair. ' "What they wiU secure to me,' he 
said, ' is no more than I could make in the same number of 
hours by authorship, and get more fame. They have no 
dignity to confer as yet, they have their reputation to make. 
I have not. If, as they admit, they wish to get some from 
me, why they ought to buy it, and pay for it.' Curtis has 
found many new and rare insects among our last batch. I 
look forward to our having a grand bout of entomology and 
geology in the hills next summer, and bringing back a great 
stock of health and knowledge. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

« The Eev. Dr. Fleming, naturalist. * Afterwards Sir William Hooker. 

» At the London University. 

1 828. FLEMING'S ' BRITISH animals: 179 

To His Sister. 

Temple : February 11, 1828. 

My dear Caroline, — Curtis has positively made out the 
very species of two insects preserved in the marl,^ and what 
is curious, though now known as northern insects, they are 
neither of them very common, nor I believe ever caught by 
us, nor are they water beetles. I cannot give you the names, 
but one is of the Elateridee. That dark clay seam between 
the marls was by a summer's flood, as these insects prove. 
Tou really must have worked hard to name so many. On 
the 20th you shall have the last batch named by Curtis. I 
have long looked out for a P. cratwgi in vain, but will get 
one for our Artaxerxes. I remember one season at Bartley 
when it swarmed, and they are so stupid, you may take 
them up with your hand. 

Tour affectionate brother, 

Chakles Lyell. 

To De. Fleming. 

Temple, London : April 9, 1828. 

My dear Sir, — I have delayed an unreasonable time in 
thanking you for a copy of your ' British Animals,' ^ for which 
I am truly obliged to you, and the Preface of which I read 
immediately with much interest, and hope to make myself 
gradually master of the rest, I think that by putting forth 
your Geological Epochs you have done yourself but justice, 
and whatever modifications may be made hereafter on such 
a system as you proposed, it is one which I firmly expect 
will ultimately prevail in geology ; and your priority in deve- 
loping the idea, even so far in this country, will be referred 
back to with honour. I had fully intended to commence forth- 
with an article for the ' Quarterly Review,' but was prevented 
by many circumstances. One was, that I agreed to go with 
Mr. Murchison at the end of the present month to France, 
to be in Auvergne by the first week in May, to study the 

• At Kinnordy. 

' A ' History of British Animals,' by Dr. John Fleming. 

N 2 



volcanic district for some months, and connect Scrope's 
country with that round Marseilles, and perhaps the 
Vicentin. My chief defence is, that I did hardly dare review 
your work until I had obtained more knowledge of zoology, 
and of systematic arrangements, for your system has been 
the subject of so much criticism and cavil here, that a man 
need know what he is about, if he really intends to do you 
any good by a review. 

They say that in putting moUusca before insects, you 
have committed the great blunder in which Lamarck had 
the honour of setting Cuvier right. I do not pretend to 
have an opinion on these subjects yet, but certainly I have 
more respect for a hornet than a snail, even now that they 
have found out in New Soiith Wales how the former 
cannot h.el'p making true hexagons. As for omission of ani- 
mals, recent and fossil, I have no doubt you are aware of the 
bats and other deficiencies, which will come out in second 
edition as Vespertilio pygmcBus. 

Believe me, very truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Tathee. 

London : April, 1828. 

My dear Father, — I chaperoned Mrs. SomervUle to Sir 
George Phillips's on Sunday evening, after a dinner at Dr. 
. Somerville"s. Sir G., who is one of the new Baronets, is an 
M.P., as is his son. A room full of Sir J. Reynolds's and 
otber good pictures, and a famous living gallery of portraits. 
The party was — Sir Walter Scott, Cooper (the American 
novelist), Mrs. Marcet and daughter. Sir J. Mackintosh, 
Rogers the poet, Dumont the Genevese jurisconsult, ' Con- 
versation ' Sharp, Lady Davy, Spring Rice, M.P.,* Dr. Wol- 
laston,^ Newton the American artist, Mr. and Mrs. Lockhart, 
Scott's son and unmarried daughter, &c. Lady Davy, to 
whom Mrs. Somerville introduced me, was talking well of 
Manzoni's new celebrated novel, ' I promessi sposi,' so I got 
her afterwards upon Dante; and she said, 'I bought Rossetti,' 

' Afterwards Lord Monteagle. » Natural philosopher. 

' A commentator on Dante. 

i828. LADY DAVY. 181 

and read some, but left off for fear I should feel obliged to 
give way to his theories. I am a devoted admirer of Dante, 
and should never forgive the man vv'ho lessened him in my 
estimation. There was too much politics perhaps before, but 
an allegory in every word is horrid. I admire Johnson for 
saying after all his labours the honest truth, that a person 
had best read Shakespeare after all, quite through, before he 
looked at a single note, and I advise all to read Dante as I 
have done, three times, and as I mean to do a fourth, before 
they read Eossetti. There is much that I cannot under- 
stand, it is true, but there is much that delights me.' Lock- 
hart asked me to breakfast with him next morning, where 
Sir Walter was, who was good-humoured enough to re- 
member me. He is much aged since last year, but pleasant 
company. Mrs. Lockhart says she cannot take so many 
bairns north of the Tweed this year, but she was much 
pleased with the invitation to Kinnordy, and says she had 
such a fancy to see Strathmore, that nothing but positive 
illness prevented her. 

Ever yours affectionately, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

To Me. Muechison. 

Temple : April 29, 1828. 

My dear Murchison, — I hope you have not been expecting 
a letter sooner, but I was desirous of seeing my way as much 
as possible before I wrote.'' Herschel called the other day 
with the camera, lucida, and told me some experiments which 
they have had in melting granite into a slag, like lava, in 
glass furnaces (he and Faraday), that are ajprojpos to us; 
but more of that anon, as also an evening I spent with 
Scrope, ' Auvergnising.' 

Herschel rather alarmed me by prophesying the plague I 
should have with my barometers, but 1 shall take them at 
all events. Dr. Hooker begs me to attend to the plants, as 
to the soils they live on, so I called on Bicheno,' who is now 
the authority in these matters. He says all we can do is to 

2 Projected tour with Mr. Murchison. 

^ An English botanist, secretary to the Linnsean Society. 


attend to the plants which abound, as, for instance, he has 
done to heath in England, which is restricted in large 
quantities to two or three formations. When we come to a 
recent crater, or half-covered stream of lava, it will be really 
a very curious point to ascertain what is growing on it. If 
there was a large tree growing on the most recent stream, 
it would be almost worth having it cut down, for if it had, 
as some are said to have in ISlbrwaj, 1,500 rings, we should 
carry the eruption back to Noah, allowing many centuries 
before any tree grew. But, joking apart, the trees and pre- 
vailing plants on the recent cones, &c., will be important. 
I have set up the proper boards for drying. My father 
writes to persuade me to take my clerk. His chief object is 
that he fears my eyes, which got weak some years ago under 
the sun of Italy, will require the assistance of my well- 
trained amanuensis, aud that in this way some plants will 
really be obtained for Dr. Hooker and himself, and some 
insects for my sisters. If I take him, he will of course find his 
way per coach to Auvergne, and find his way when there on 
his legs principally, and I should not give him the barometers, 
as this disables the bearer from work, and I should possibly 
send him back when I quitted the mountains of France. He 
is clever, and I doubt not I should do more with him, but I 
am not quite decided if it will answer the additional expense, 
and am soixy I cannot talk over with you any possible objec- 
tion that you might have to another servant. However, I 
will take care, if I bring him, that he keeps clear of incom- 
moding the party. 

Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Hotel Mont Blanc, Eue de la Paix, Paris : May 9, 1828. 

My dear Father, — I left London May 4, slept at Dover, 
and on Monday evening got into the mail at Calais with 
Hall.'' Next day stopped only three hours at Amiens, and 
arrived at Paris four o'clock on Wednesday morning. After 

* His olerk. 

l828. PARIS. 183 

four hours' sleep, breakfasted with Murchison, and had a 
grand day seeing people, and in the evening cut in for a 
famous lecture of Prevost's on Geology — cozed till midnight 
with him here, and next morning again with him at break- 
fast. He is very well, has two children, Madame in the 
country, at Montmorency. He is as keen as ever about 
Geology. Murchison has planned everything capitally, and 
unless my confounded passport, not sent in time from Calais, 
does not detain us, we start for Clermont to-morrow, geolo- 
gising a little en route. 

Murchison has ordered his letters to Clermont Ferrand. 
Mrs. M. very well and in good spirits. Has been dining with 
Lady Granville, Pozzo di Borgo, Cuvier, and other great 
personages, fashionable and scientific, and no end to offers 
of boxes to opera, &c. ; but science and real work is made in 
spite of this the main object, and other advantages all made 
to turn to account in this way. They are both very indus- 
trious. I have seen Ferussac, Duvan, Dufresnoy, Blie de 
Beaumont, and am to meet the three former again to-day. 
With my love to all, believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Clermont Ferrand, Auvergne : May 16, 1828. 

My dear Father, — "We left Paris on Sunday, May 10, 
Murchison and I on the box of his light open carriage, and 
Mrs. M. and a Swiss maid in the inside. Started at half- 
past six o'clock, and carriage broke down in boulevard, op- 
posite the coachmaker's, who had made a precious job of 
remedying some slight damage. 

Most of the road from Fontainebleau to Moulins was 
dreadfully out of repair, but the vehicle was got safe over, 
and in proportion as we approached the mountains, and re- 
ceded from Paris, the roads and rate of posting improved, 
and at last averaged nine miles an hour, and the change 
of horses almost as quick as in England. The politeness aLo 
of the people has much delighted us, and they are so intel- 
ligent, that we get much geology from them. 

The processions of ' Eogation,' and yesterday of the fete 

184 S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. vrir. 

of Ascension Day, have shown a strange contrast between 
the religious faith of the Auvergnois, and the provinces 
around, and to the north of the Loire. In the latter, there 
was literally none but priests singing, monks and choristers, 
hundreds of fine young men, and in most cases only four or 
five women and children following, sometimes not a single 
man. We heard that in some processions to distant crosses 
the priest had found himself at the cross alone. Here the 
church and procession is as numerously attended as any in 
Germany, yet the Jesuits have no influence, as they univer- 
sally return Liberal deputies. Murchison has letters from 
the Deputy La Fayette's son, which ensured us attention 
from a useful medical savant on our arrival. I never did in 
my life so much real geology in as many days. A good paper 
might be written if we stopped here. We have learned many 
new things in regard to secondary formations in France, 
north of the Loire, and since that we have positively found 
that nothing was correctly known of the freshwater form- 
ation, either as to organic contents, inclination and disturb- 
ance of strata, mineral structure, &c. &c. So we think 
of writing ' On the Freshwater Formation of Central France, 
and its relations to the Primary, Secondary, and Volcanic 
Eocks,' &c. This may be considered quite a new and un- 
explored field, and when investigated, it must throw quite 
a new light on the age of the volcanic rocks, and of the 
elevation of the country, &c. We have generally begun 
work at six o'clock, and neither heat nor fatigue have stopped 
us an hour. Mrs. Murchison is very diligent, sketching, 
labelling specimens, and making out shells, in which last 
she is an invaluable assistant. She is so much interested in 
the affair, as to be always desirous of keeping out of the 
way when she would interfere with the work, and as far as 
I yet see, it would be impossible to form a better party. I 
sent Hall by diligence here. He had a day before our 
arrival, and collected insects, among which a specimen of 
Papilio Antiope is the most showy. I will see what can be 
done in plants, but the French say everything is well done 
in the botany of Auvergne, no part of Europe better. So say 
the savans of Paris ; but so some say of the geology, of which 
we find that nothing is done. Murchison, I am happy to 

1828. AUVERGNE. 185 

find, is quite of my mind to direct all our force to where 
there is real work, to concentrate, and not to run, as Buck- 
land has done, so that now he cannot literally publish on a 
single spot on the Continent. 

Auvergne is beautiful — rich wooded plains, picturesque 
towns, and the outline of the volcanic chain unlike any 
other I ever saw. The range of Mont Dore, seen over the 
volcanic range from fifty miles to north of this, was covered 
with snow, and looked like the Alps, but they say it will 
soon melt. 

We have been much surprised that ever since we left 
the chalk and oolite, and entered the freshwater formations 
along the Allier, we have never seen, till we came close to 
Clermont, any volcanic pebbles in the gravel, which was 
chiefiy granitic. If most of the volcanoes were antediluvian, 
and Buckland's deluge caused the diluvium, how could this 
have happened? I verily believe that we have collected 
already a larger number of organic remains, from quadrupeds 
down to fossil seeds and shells, than have yet been published 
as belonging to Auvergne. Murchison is a famous hand at 
a bargain, and as he takes that on himself, I hope to get 
through very economically. He always makes a bargain 
before going into an inn, by which much time and expense 
are saved in the end. We get off within a third of what the 
natives pay, and for half what John Bull does en route ; but, 
thanks to his campaigning of old, he loses no time in trans- 
acting this business. 

Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Clermont Ferrand, Auvergne: May 36, 1828. 

My dear Father, — I have just returned again to Clermont, 
from an expedition of five days, and we have discovered that 
there is no end to the work to be done in this country, and 
that it is of the most interesting description. The first day 
was spent in ascending some of the lofty volcanic Puys near 
here. Mrs. Murchison accompanied us, and then returned 
to Clermont, where she employed herself during our absence 



in making panoramic sketclies, receiving several of the 
gentry and professors, to whom we had letters, in the neigh- 
bourhood, and collecting plants and shells, &c., while Mur- 
chison and I, with my man, went on in a patac/ie, a one-horse 
machine on springs. We first visited Pontgiband and the 
Sioule, to see the excavations made by that river, in the 
grand lava-current of Come, which descended from the 
central range, and dispossessed the river of its bed. The 
scenery was beautiful. Just as we were leaving the place, 
the peasants offered to take us to a volcano farther down 
the river. As no Puy was mentioned in Desmarest's accurate 
map, nor by Scrope, we thought their account a mere fable ; 
but their description of the cinders, &c., was so curious, that 
we had the courage to relinquish our day's scheme, and proceed 
again down the river. 

You may imagine our surprise when we found, within a 
ride of Clermont, a set of volcanic phenomena entirely un- 
known to Buckland, Scrope, or the natives here. A volcanic 
cone, with a stream of basaltic lava issuing out on both 
sides, and flowing down to the gorge of the Sioule. This 
defile was flanked on both sides by precipitous clifi"s of gneiss, 
and the river's passage must have been entirely choked up 
for a long time. A lake was formed, and the river wore a 
passage between the lava and the granitic schist, but the 
former was so excessively compact, that the schist evidently 
suffered most. In the progress of ages, the igneous rock, 
150 feet deep, was cut through, and the river went on and ate 
its way, 35, 45, and in one place 85 feet into the subjacent 
granitic beds, leaving on one bank a perpendicular wall of 
basaltic lava towering over the gneiss. In the Vivarrais, 
where similar phenomena had been observed, Herschel had 
remarked a bed of pebbles between the lava and the gneiss, 
marking the ancient river-bed, but Buckland endeavoured to 
get over this dif&culty by saying that these pebbles might 
have covered a sloping bank when the river filled the valley, 
and that this bank may have always been high above the 
river bed ; for if the sloping sides of a valley, said the Pro- 
fessor, be covered with pebbles, as they often are, and the 
valley is filled with lava, and then the lava cut through and 
partially removed, there wiU of course be a line of pebbles at 


the junction of the lava and the rock beneath, but these 
pebbles will not mark an ancient river bed. Now, unluckily 
for the Doctor in this case, he has no loophole. An old 
lead mine, said to have been worked by the Romans, happens 
to have exactly laid open the line of contact, and the pebble 
bed of the old river is seen going in under the lava, horizon- 
tally, for nearly 60 feet. This is an astonishing proof of 
what a river can do in some thousand or hundred thousand 
years by its continual wearing. No deluge could have de- 
scended the valley without carrying away the crater and 
ashes above. 600 or 700 feet higher is an old plateau of 
basalt, and if this flowed at the bottom of the then valley, 
the last work of the Sioule is but a unit in proportion to the 
other. There are several of the Clermont savans who, 
since they discovered how much we were interested with 
this, have given us to understand they intended to publish 
on it, but no doubt they will take a year before they launch 
out in the expense of a patar.he to Pontgibaud. Murchison 
certainly keeps it up with more energy than anyone I ever 
travelled with, for Buckland, though he worked as hard, 
always flew about too fast to make sure of anything. Mons. 
Le Coq, the botanist, a clever young man, assures me that 
the geology of the soils does not affect the botany of Auvergne. 
I shall get some specimens from him for Dr. Hooker, 1 expect. 
None to be bought, at least this year, for it seems there may 
be hereafter. It is a wonderful fact that Glaux maritima 
grows round some saline springs here. Busset, an engineer, 
who is mapping Auvergne, has forced us to dine with him 
to-morrow. As we know his object to be to get geology out of 
us, of which he knows nothing, M. fears it will be a bore, but 
the man is evidently clever. We shall get barometric heights 
from him, and a map of our little volcanic district, and if he 
pumps unreasonably, I shall find a difficulty in expressing 
myself in French. We are to meet Count Le Serres there, 
a gentlemanlike and well-informed naturalist, who has a 
property on Mont Dore, and knows m.ore geology than any 
one we have met here, professors not excepted. He organised 
a geological society here, and they chose Count Montlosier^ 

" Katuralist, author of an essay on the Extinct Volcanoes of Auvergne, 
b. 1755, d. 1838. 

188 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

as president ; but the Jesuits took alarm, and, declaring 
that Montlosier had written a book against Genesis, got the 
Prefect and Mayor and Government to oppose, and at last 
put the thing down ; at least it merged in the regular scientific 
Etablissement de la Ville, and Montlosier is just coming out 
with a book against the Jesuits, a more popular subject in 
France at present than geology. We are to visit him at his 
chateau near Mont Dore. We like the people and the 

Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Fathee. 

Bains de ilont Dore, Auvergne : June 6, 1828. 

My dear Father, — I am this moment arrived here, after 
passing three delightful days at Count de Montlosier's, an 
old man of seventy-four, in full possession of faculties of no 
mean order, and of an imagination as lively as a poet's of 
twenty-five. I stayed a day longer than the Murohisons, as 
I was determined to have one more trial to find a junction 
between the granite of the Puy chain and the freshwater 
formations of the Limagne, and I actually found it ; and my 
day's work alone will throw a new light on the history of this 
remarkable country. I believe most of the granite to have 
made its appearance at the surface at a later period than 
even the freshwater tertiary beds have, though they contain 
the remains of quadrupeds. 

The scenery of Mont Dore is that of an Alpine valley, 
deep, with tall fir woods, high aiguilles above, half covered 
with snow, and cataracts and waterfalls. A watering-place 
with good inns at the bottom of the valley. T shall send 
Hall back from here, as, although he has been useful, I do 
not think the advantage will overbalance the additional ex- 
pense. Le Coq has promised some plants for certain, and 
Hall has done pretty well in insects. 

Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

i828. MR. MURCHISON. 189 

To His Mother. 

Bains de Mont Dore, Auvergne : June 11, 1828. 

My dear Mother, — We have been so actively employed, I 
may really say so laboriously, that I assure you I can with 
great diiSculty find a moment to write a letter. This morn- 
ing we got oiF, after breakfast at five o'clock, on horseback, 
to return from St. Amand to this : arrived at seven o'clock. 
But one day we rode fifty-five miles, which I shall take care 
shall be the last experiment of that kind, as even the old 
Leicestershire fox-hunter was nearly done up with it. But 
I have really gained strength so much, that I believe that I 
and my eyes were never in such condition before ; and I. am 
sure that six hours in bed, which is all we allow, and exer- 
cise all day long for the body, and geology for the mind, 
with plenty of the vin du pays, which is good here, is the 
best thing that can be invented in this world for my health 
and happiness. Murchison must have been intended for a 
very strong man, if the sellers of drugs had not enlisted him 
into their service, so that he depends on them for his exist- 
ence to a frightful extent, yet withal he can get through 
what would knock up most men who never need the doctor. 
He has only given in one day and a half yet. On one occa- 
sion we were on an expedition together, and as a stronger 
dose was necessary than he had with him, I was not a little 
alarmed at finding there was no pharmacy in the place, but 
at last went to a nunnery, where Mdlle. La Superieure sold 
all medicines without profit — positively a young, clever, and 
rather good-looking lady, who hoped my friend would think 
better of it, as the quantity would kill six Frenchmen. M. 
was cured, and off the next morning, as usual. The mischief 
is, that he has naturally a weak though a sound stomach, and 
if he possessed a more than ordinary share of self-denial, and 
was very prudent, and after much exercise did not eat a good 
dinner when set before him — if, in short, he would take the 
advice which many find it easy to give him, he would be well. 

He has much talent for original observation in geology, 
and is indefatigable, so that we make much way, and are 
thrown so much in the way of the people, high and low, by 

190 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. .vm. 

means of our letters of introduction and our pursuits, that I 
am gettinof large materials, which I hope I shall find means 
of applying. Indeed, I really think I am most profitably 
employed on this tour, and as long as things go on as well 
as they do now, I should be very sorry to leave off; par- 
ticularly as, from our plan of operation, which is that of 
comparison of the structure of different parts of the country, 
we work on with a continually increasing power, and in 
the last week have with the same exertion done at least 
twice as much in the way of discovery, and in enlarging 
our knowledge of what others had done, as in any pre- 
ceding. I expect it will be at least three weeks before we 
can have done with Central France, and then we hope to work 
south towards Nice, down the Rhone, keeping always in 
analogous formations, and then to the Vicentin if possible, 
though this is very uncertain, as we can never see far before 
us, either as to time or place, directing our course according 
to the new lights we are gaining. 

We shall leave this place in a day or two. T like it well 
enough, but it is certainly too early in the season to enjoy 
it, and Mrs. Murchison suffers from the cold and damp, 
though she has not often complained in this tone. 

Mont Dore is partially covered with snow, and almost 
always with clouds, and the transition in coming up here 
from the low country is violent. Yesterday we rode up from 
the climate of Italy to that of Scotland. It is the most 
varied and picturesque country imaginable. There are in- 
numerable old ruins for sketches, with lakes, cascades, and 
different kinds of wood, so that we wonder more and more 
that the English have not found it out. The peasantry 
are very obliging, industrious, well-fed, and clothed, and 
to all appearance are the happiest I ever saw. We ha-\e 
crossed the chain of Puys, the Limagne, and the valieys 
leading from Mont Dore, in all directions. The people 
in the higher regions begin to talk French — at least, there 
are generally some who have served in the armies, and their 
children catch some from them. Their own language has 
a good deal of the old Proven§al in it, and a great many of 
the terminations are Italian. In short, we often find a demand 
in Italian succeed when French misses fiire ; but aU our am- 

1 828. THE CANTAL. 191 

munition often fails to produce any impression. The popu- 
lation is dense, and bears no resemblance to other parts 
of France that ever I saw. In the mountains a large portion 
do not believe that Napoleon is dead, especially the old 
soldiers. There is an almost entire want of gentry here, but 
as it does not arise from absenteeism, but from the great 
subdivision of property, it evidently produces no ill effects on 
the character and well-being of the people. 

Give my love to all at Kinnordy, and believe me, 
Tour affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Puy en Velay : July 3, 1828. 

My dear Caroline, — I was glad to find your letter awaiting 
me here yesterday, though now of a somewhat ancient date, 
and hope that another will arrive before we quit this, in 
about a week, from some one. We have now seen the Cantal 
district, of which Aurillac is the principal town, and I was 
there particularly interested with the freshwater or rather 
lacustrine deposits ; as although of an older date than all 
the volcanoes of that country, and constituting chains of 
hills, their correspondence, when considered foot by foot with 
the beds which are at our door in the marl loch, is as com- 
plete as you can imagine. The same genera of shells and 
compressed vegetables, and seeds of chara, &c., of which we 
hope to add many new species to the fossils hitherto known. 
I hope, by the way, you will not forget, when the marl is dug, 
to keep up inquiries for jaws and teeth of animals, and if you 
can get some good specimens of the shells, it will help me ; 
for now that I see the perfect analogy of these older forma- 
tions, I am resolved to give a notice on the minor details of 
our loch. I am in great expectation that some of my Cantal 
fossils will prove the elytra of beetles. They were in marl 
near Murat in Cantal, upon which rested an enormous load 
of different volcanic materials, such as currents of columnar 
basalts and other lavas and breccia, no lesi than 800 feet in 
a very precipitous height. Yet the limnei and planorbis and 
other lake remains in the foundation beds were not injured, 



and looked just as marls might do in Angus. The most 
characteristic people we have seen are perhaps those of Mont 
Dore, but they are an oddisb race throughout these regions of 
Central France. The language varies as we move about, 
and is always equally unintelligible ; it is more Spanish here 
than farther north. The communication between the capital 
and the interior is wonderfully small, but to our surprise the 
roads have been far better than near Paris, and the carriage 
has never been broken since we crossed the Loire. They 
macadamise their roads in good style. This is a most extra- 
ordinary and picturesque valley, whereas the Cantal, though 
interesting to a geologist, has not much to boast in that way. 
Mont Dore is fine and Alpine, but then it is not equal to the 
Swiss Alps and in the same style. But the chain of Puys of 
Clermont is so perfectly unlike any other European chain, 
and its Prince, the Puy de Dome, is so handsome, that this 
is worth a visit by all who travel in France. 

We flatter ourselves we have got more ample materials 
for the geology of these parts of France, at least on the 
modern rocks, than have as yet been published on any dis- 
tricts of equal extent and equal distance from Paris ; and as 
this has all been done in seven weeks, we should have some- 
thing to show at the end of six or eight weeks more, if all 
could go on at the same pace. But I do not think the Mur- 
chisons will stand fire. Symptoms of flinching from the 
heat, which makes scarcely any impression on me, begin to 
betray themselves. Thoughts of a retreat to the Alps, con- 
sultations with me whether I think it practicable to proceed 
farther south in the dog-days, have been mooted, and I sup- 
pose the whole scheme will hardly be persevered in just as 
if Sedgwick and I were here together, determined to hunt 
down thoroughly one subject at a time. But as far as we 
have gone, I was never with a better man for doing work well 
than Murchison, and as we have two weeks before us here, 
that will be a good deal to have secured. The French, since I 
was last on this side the water, have come round marvellously 
to our costume, and they are on the high road to become 
just as great politicians, and in many respects to be more 
like us. If our people would have the same good sense to 
take from them what they surpass us in, it would be a good 

iR28. PUY EN VELAY. 193 

compromise. Their system of early rising, and spending a 
moderate time at dinner, agrees famously with, those who 
wish to make use of their evenings and still see society. If 
Prevost had known these parts of his own country, he would 
not have regarded the scene at Penzance on Guy Fawkes's 
day as particularly John Bullish. Por on St. Peter's day we 
saw at St. Germain in A.uvergne, and other towns, bonfires 
and fireworks, and the peasants pushing each other into the 
fire and jumping through it. We are to visit the country 
house here of Bertrand Rous, author of a geological work on 
these parts. He is a merchant, and an intelligent man. 

I sent back Hall from Mont Dore. The last two days 
were the first in which he signalised himself by doing any- 
thing whatever in entomology, for he then took about two 
dozen of Blandina. We saw numbers afterwards. 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Aubenas, ArdSche : July 16, 1828. 

My dear Marianne, — We found Puy en Velay a very 
extraordinary and beautiful town, with some remarkable 
rocks standing up in it like Edinburgh Castle, and as weU 
covered. Our introduction to M. Bertrand helped us not 
only to the best geological cicerone we have yet met with in 
Prance, but also an agreeable opportunity of seeing two 
large Prench establishments, his own and his mother-in- 
law's, Madame de Laintenot, who, in being able annually to 
visit Paris, is a great personage among the provincials. We 
spent a day at her place, and two at Bertrand's, who inhabits 
a fine old monastery called Done, which his father, a rich 
merchant, purchased in 1791 out of the Revolutionary 
plunder. He is himself a merchant. The ladies, young and 
old, displayed a curiosity about Mrs. Murchison's dress and 
English wardrobe that would have diverted you. Consider- 
ing the natural gaiety of the various persons we met there, 
we were somewhat amused at one favourite theme of regret, 
expressed by many of the old people, that the Prench were 
becoming too serious. They attribute this to the English 

VOL. I. 

194 s/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

style of education, wMcli they say is now being introduced, 
■which, although right in many respects, is carried to an 
extreme. C est plus solide, they say, than theirs was, and there 
was once some reason to accuse them of legerete, but there is 
a medium. Even our friend Bertrand seems decidedly to 
take the same view of the matter, though he accounts for it 
in another way, for he says every young man now looks 
early to a profession. None go out of good society, as formerly, 
into the Church and monasteries, and there being no elder 
sons, none can afford to be gay and thoughtless. But even 
he appears to see too much puritanical severity in the rising 
generation, which I have certainly not seen, and as far as 
a traveller can judge, they are still an infinitely more lively 
people, high and low, than we are, and look at least happier, 
especially the peasantry of Central France. From Le Puy, 
where we stayed eight days, we went to the Haut Vivarrais. 
The descent from the granite mountain of Velay to Vivarrais 
(now Ardeche) is exceedingly fine, the outline of the hills 
very Alpine, and the deep valley clothed with rich chestnut 
trees, and vines dressed in the Italian style. We stayed 
three days at Thueyts, a small town in the Ardeche, whence 
we were able to examine carefully what Scrope in a letter 
calls ' the pet volcanoes of the Vivarrais ; ' and such they 
really are, very far surpassing all the two or three hundred 
we had seen in Auvergne, Cantal, and Puy. All lovers of 
the picturesque, and who have got no farther than ' a taste 
for geology,' should come to these, for they will find it all so 
clear, as well as beautiful. The craters are so perfect, yet the 
cones covered with such fine zones half-way down of chest- 
nuts, and the lava currents eaten into by the rivers, present 
such splendid colonnades of basaltic pillars, that it is a 
country to make everyone desire to know something ; and as 
the granitic schists in which the valleys lie are all of one 
kind, there is no danger of the volcanic matter being con- 
founded by anyone with the older rock through which it 
has burst, or over which it has flowed. The proofs of their 
immense antiquity are quite enough to bear out Scrope. 
But Murchison and I must take care how we recommend 
any English to come here, as there is no post over much of 
the road, and the voituriers have no harness, and cannot 

1828. ENTOMOLOGY. 195 

drive two horses abreast, and scarcely in a single instance in 
Central France can they be trusted. For ten miles there is 
a broad road worthy of the magnificence of the Grande 
Nation — bridges quite splendid, rock blown through, &c. 
Then all at once stones and ruts and a narrow lane, with a 
frightful precipice at the side, and no parapet. As far as 
steady geological work goes, I have not had a single day to 
regret since I entered Auvergne, two calendar months 
yesterday. Amidst solemn declarations on the part of Mur- 
chison that he cannot go south in the dog-days, he has 
ordered letters to be addressed to Mce, where I hope to 
hear from you. You will not suppose that any attention 
has been paid to entomology, except what has been un- 
avoidably done in the Aptera and Diptera, the former of 
which have been sacrificed in large numbers by the Mur- 
chisons, having robbed them of many a night's rest. They 
have spared me, but in the day-time the Diptera have 
attacked all indiscriminately, both man and beast, ever since 
we passed the first Spanish chestnuts, on our descent from 
the high central plateau towards the Rhone. This country 
breeds many silkworms. They tell me that two caterpillars, 
and frequently three, spin the same cocoon, which then 
contains three pupse. The greater part of the Lepidoptera 
are English acquaintances, and were remarkably so till we 
descended from Central France, as were the plants. 
Believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Marseilles : August 3, 1828. 

My dear Caroline, — At Aix there has been discovered, 
within a year, a thin band of fissile, compact, calcareous marl 
full of insects. It divides into thin laminse, as does our 
Kinnordy insect bed, but is a solid stone. The insects, even 
the gnats, are beautifully perfect, wings, antennae, and all. 
Until we came all had gone to M. de Serres of Montpellier. 
He has made out fifty genera. The beetles are chiefly 
Curculionidw ; most of the rest are Diptera, Musca, and 
Culex, &c. A perfect Gryllus and a Forficula are amongst them. 


196 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

There are so many, that I am in hopes they will some- 
what aid the question as to the climate of these parts when 
the tertiary strata were formed. The series of strata in 
which they occur is 400 feet thick, and the fish and shells 
show them to he freshwater, probably foimd in a lake. The 
country has been much thrown about since, and the insects 
must be of great antiquity, though not old, geologically 
speaking, for hills and valleys have since been formed. 
Murchison kept saying, when we were hunting about the 
quarries and getting them from the man, ' How I wish your 
sisters were here, they would enjoy the chase, and then we 
might be at work at the geology.' I think we have got at 
least fifteen genera, and more will be sent us. We find 
provincial geologists almost everywhere who know enough 
to be useful. Nismes is a glorious remnant of Roman gran- 
deur, with an amphitheatre and temple nearly entire. The 
old aqueduct at the Pont du Gard, north of Msmes, is as 
fine as almost anything in Italy. There is a triumphal arch 
and tower, like the lantern of Demosthenes at St. Eemy, 
between Nismes and Aix, of great beauty, and of which, if at 
Rome, antiquaries would talk through folios. Montpellier 
is the most luxurious place we have seen, and this the 
cleanest seaport. The troops are passing in daily, return- 
ing from Spain, much quizzed by their countrymen and 
women, for being burnt as black as Spaniards. The genera- 
lity here are fair, spite of the sun. Other troops are going 
out to the Morea, such a stunted race ! By accurate calcula- 
tion of the height of men of the levy since the peace, it is 
found that the mean height of Frenchmen has been 
diminished several inches by the Revolution and Napoleon's 
wars. These are now the sons of those who were not 
thought by Napoleon strong and tall enough to fight and 
look well. But they will rout the Egyptians for all that, 
and I suppose be a match for the Russians. 
With love to all, your aifectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

l828. NICE. 197 

To His Sister. 

Nice : August 20, 1828. 

My dear Eleanor, — There has not literally been one drop 
of rain here for eight months ! So all the rivers are quite 
dry, and the stagnant waters are not a little odoriferous, 
and were it not for some protecting saint, the malaria 
would have its head-quarters here, according to the modern 
doctrines on that subject : and why it never visits Nice, is 
certainly a puzzling problem. The only French journals 
admitted here are the ultras, who are defending the cause 
of the persecuted Jesuits, and are just now very angry with 
the liberal papers for some profane quizzing of the Arch- 
bishop of Paris, who has been praying for rain. While he is 
about the matter, he may as well have it sent here, for they 
hardly hope for a drop for a month to come, and do not 
think it at all unprecedented. Murchison has not regained 
his strength from a severe attack at Frejus, so as to be able 
to take the field again. Eut we have been hard at work in 
writing, from our materials, a paper on the excavation of 
valleys, which is at last finished, and after two evenings' 
infliction, is intended to reform the Geological Society, and 
afterwards the world, on this hitherto-not-in-the-least- 
degree-understood subject. Besides this mighty operation, 
we have performed two jaunts vdth Mrs. Murchison, each at 
half-past four o'clock in the morning, to see certain deposits 
of fossil shells, and collecting these, with which she has been 
much pleased ; and this and the cessation of eternal bustle, 
while the campaign was at its height, while we were as yet 
only crossing the Balkan, and before our descent upon these 
hot latitudes, has restored her health and spirits, which 
had failed sadly. Her lord has a little too much of what 
Mathews used to ridicule in his slang as ' the keep-moving, 
go-it-if-it-kills-you ' system, and I had to fight sometimes 
for the sake of geology, as his wife had for her strength, to 
make him proceed with somewhat less precipitation. You 
may suppose it was not over prudent to attempt hard work, 
and only to sleep, or rather to be in bed, five hours at most. 
I expected a break-down before. I trust still to start in a 


few days to the Vicentin, eitlier by Genoa or the Col de 
Tenda, for that country must afford some curious analogies 
and lights to what we have seen in Auvergne. The people 
are polite and agreeable here, the Government unpopular, 
though most absolute. Numbers of soldiers and priests 
everywhere. The principal librarian has no books but 
what he sells to 500 English who reside here in winter. 
He says the inhabitants of the great city never read scarcely 
even novels. What, then, do they do 'i ' Can you not see ? 
They sit in cafes, play billiards, hear the bands play, go to 
mass, and give and attend fetes.' All this makes the place 
very gay. Everything is quite gone back to the old regime 
in good earnest. And when the Jesuits are exiled from 
France, if they dare execute that order, they will find the 
receptacle prepared by the King for them here, a congenial 
home. They are positively hiring apartments now for 
French pensioners, youths who are to follow them into 
exile for education. Our kind old host Montlosier's works 
are so attacked by the ultra journals here, that it is clear 
they produced no small effect. I caught a curious Mantis 
this morning, the peasants call it ' prega-dio,' and when it 
erects its neck, and holds up its chelae and clasps them, it 
certainly seems to be saying its prayers. I shall try and 
catch some gnats for him in my room, for, in. spite of a 
mosquito net, they have bitten me all over. One day of 
winter in Italy would do more for geology than a week of 
this everlasting blue sky : even the Italians are sick of seeing it. 
No wonder we are so much in the dark in geology as to 
India and the tropics ! If I ever attempt to understand the 
south of Italy as well as I hope I now do Central France, it 
shall be in winter, or before May. All our best men made 
the blunder we have. We went out in the bay on Sunday 
with a famous diver, who brought up sponges and other 
creatures that I had never seen alive before. He took down 
a hammer, and, when out of sight, knocked off the stone- 
perforating shells. 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

i828. GEOLOGY. 199 

To His Fathbk. 

Nice ; August 24, 1828. 

My dear Father, — Before we cross the Alps, and enter as 
it were upon a new expedition, I will send a few words on 
the fruits and adventures of our past tour, and the plans I 
wish still to realise before I return. The paper which we have 
written here, and which for the first moment almost has 
had time given it to think over any of our data, has encouraged 
us to be sanguine as to what has been obtained. The whole 
tour has been rich, as I had anticipated (and in a manner 
which Murchison had not), in those analogies between 
existing Nature and the effects of causes in remote eras 
which it will be the great object of my work to point out. I 
scarcely despair now, so much do these evidences of modem 
action increase upon us as we go south (towards the more 
recent volcanic seat of action), of proving the positive 
identity of the causes now operating with those of former 

At this very place, which Brongniart and Buckland have 
been at, without seeing, or choosing to see, so unwelcome a 
fact, we have discovered a formation which would furnish an 
answer to the very difficulty which Sedgwick when at 
Kinnordy put to me. He said, ' Tou who wish to make out 
that all is now going on as formerly, help me to conceive a 
sea deep enough and disturbed enough to receive, in any 
length of time, such a series of strata of conglomerate and 
sandstone as you have shown me in Angus.' Now here we 
have just such a series as that in Forfarshire, only very 
much thicker, and in the intervening laminated sands are 
numerous perfect shells, more than 200 species in Eisso's 
cabinet, eighteen in a hundred of which are living Mediter- 
ranean species, whose habits are known. By this grouping 
of these shells and their state, the sea is proved to have been 
in a perfect state of tranquillity, except at those periods 
when the pebbles were washed down. This conglomerate is 
intersected by a valley and a gorge, displaying it for fifteen 
miles ! The hills of conglomerate are some 800 feet high, 
and at this height are fossil species, which may be the 

200 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

identical ancestors of others that now live opposite here, 
where the sea within gun-shot of the shore is 3,000 feet 
deep, measured by Saussure, and since verified. Into this ■ 
the Magnacon, after not flowing a drop for eight months, 
brings yearly multitudes of pebbles. But I feel, as Murchison 
says, that if I wish to get out, by November year, such a 
book as will decidedly do me credit, and probably be a source 
of profit, it is to the south of the Po I should hasten, and be- 
fore Christmas everything might be done. He said yesterday, 
' At Milan or Verona, in three or four weeks or thereabouts, 
the operations connected with our paper will be over, but 
Sicily is for your views the great end : there are the most 
modern analogies, volcanic, marine, elevatory, subsiding, &c. 
I know the island as a soldier, and if you make straight for 
Etna, will just time it right for work, for the season will be 
exactly suitable.' ... I feel so decidedly that three months' 
more steady work will carry me through all, and tell greatly 
both to the despatch of finishingmy work, as well as to the power 
I shall have in writing it, that I should greatly repent if 
I did not do aU in my power to accomplish it now. 

With my love to all, believe me, your affectionate son, 

Ch^eles Ltell. 

To Sir John Hebschel. 

Milan : September 9, 1828. 

Dear Ilerschel, — I arrived here with the Murchisons 
yesterday, and to-morrow we start for the Vicentin, where 
we hope to finish successfully the remainder of the plan 
which was talked over with you, and which has been thus 
far executed much to our satisfaction. We profited much 
by your hints and memoranda, and Murchison begs me to 
say that he intends stiU further to benefit by your advice in 
the Val de Fassa, though his time will be shorter than he 
had intended. We part at Yerona, and I then hope to make 
out a tour in S. Italy and Sicily. I now regret much that I 
had not formed this scheme before I leftEngland, for although 
I believe I remember pretty accurately the principal geolo- 
gical facts in regard to Sicily which you and others gave 
me, yet for want of noting the localities I shall be little able 


to avail myself of them. Tou would render me a great 
service if you would send me, in a letter to Florence, any 
liints and advice on points of geology which you think 
should be investigated, and which you either saw, or thiuk 
you omitted. As we have not been idle as far as our time 
permitted in Auvergne, Velay, and Vivarrais, in working at 
the relations of the volcanic to the tertiary and other 
associated rocks, I am prepared with a moderate stock of 
queries, and of difficulties, to be answered I hope by study- 
ing a more modern volcanic district. The effects of earth- 
quakes on the regular strata, and the light thrown oh the 
excavation of valleys by lavas, are subjects to which I have 
directed a large share of attention. I should therefore be 
anxious to examine such parts of the coast of Sicily or 
Calabria as afforded evidence of elevation or subsidence, 
either by the aid of buildings, &c., raised or sunk, as at Baiee, 
Temple of Serapis (if the latter be not otherwise explicable), 
or by help of modern species of shells lifted up, or sea 
beaches. Wherever you observed signs of such effects of 
earthquakes in Sicily, I should be glad to have the localities, 
and where you saw the greatest fissures, if any, still open. 
The disturbance in the freshwater strata of Auvergne and 
Cantal, due to volcanic action, is so much greater than I had 
been led to expect, and that of the sub-Apennine beds from 
Montpellier to Savona, containing as they do nearly twenty 
per cent, of decided living species of shells, that I cannot but 
think that Calabria and Sicily must afford proofs of strata 
containing still more modern organic remains, raised above 
the level of the sea. If you will inform me how you moved 
about in Sicily, I shall be much obliged to you, and any 
desirable head-quarters, from which much may be learnt, 
besides Catania and Palermo and Messina. 

As I know how well and how fully your time is occupied, 
I am aware that this request is somewhat unconscionable, 
but however few the memoranda you can favour me with, I 
shall prize them much. The names of any localities, or 
persons or things to be seen, or to be avoided, in a tour of a 
few months, is what I am most in need of, or any books 
which I should buy or read. We asked here for the Council 
of Mines, ' It is done away with.' For Brocchi's successor. 

202 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

' The chair exists no longer.' For his collection. ' It has been 
pillaged by the Germans, and they have left nothing worth 
seeing.' Is there no scientific establishment left? 'There 
is only the library.' So much for the paternal government 
of Austria. — Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Fathek. 

Padua : September 26, 1828. 

My dear Father, — The Murchisons left this for the Tyrol 
this morning, and I start for Verona this evening. I came 
here that I might examine the Euganean HUls, the geology 
of which is interesting. 

The new road by the Maritime Alps is quite a fine addi- 
tion to the English tourists who wish to vary their way over 
the Alps. The scenery is remarkably identical in character 
with that which we saw along by the Gulf of Spezzia, sup- 
posing greater height of the mountains ; and it is throughout 
the same. The road is always in sight of the sea, often 
overhanging it on a precipitous steep of some thousand feet. 
Hills covered with old olive trees, and now and then large 
orchards of lemon trees. These here and there exchanged for 
vines. The palms in many gardens of considerable height, 
and great prickly pears hanging over walls. Sea, deep up 
to the rocks, which rise boldly out of it: scarcely ever a sail. 

Between Savona and Modena we did an agreeable piece 
of geology, the Cadibona coal basin, evidently a lacustrine 
deposit. As it was unoccupied ground, and of interest from 
producing a curious fossil quadruped, called by Cuvier 
' Anthracotherium,' we expect it will make a good subject 
of a notice for Jamieson's Journal as soon as I return. The 
neighbourhood of Turin may perhaps lead us to another 
notice, for our passage over the Apennines from Savona to 
Alexandria certainly gave us a key to the environs of Turin, 
on which such blunders are current, that we may be excused 
if we set some right, even though we cannot pretend to have 
done the district. But this will not be for the Geological 
Society, to which we give the paper I mentioned, and one on 

1828. GIOTTO'S FRESCO. 203 

the freshwater formations of Auvergne, if our specimens 
all reach London in safety. 

From Borelli, the eonchologist at Turin, and others at 
Vicenza and this place, we learnt much. But the chief 
advantage from a few days' hard work at Monte Bolca and 
other parts of the Vicentin will be, that it renders us quite 
competent to judge the merits of and to understand the 
various works both of the ancients and moderns on this 
country. The volcanic phenomena are just Auvergne over 
again, and we read them off, as things written in a familiar 
language, though they would have been Hebrew to us both 
six months before. The trachyte of the Euganean Hills is 
the porphyry of Lintrathen and the Clune,'' so is that of 
Mont Dore — all identical — and the felspathic lavas of the 
volcanoes of S. America come quite close to them. It is 
here pinkish, as in Forfarshire, and sometimes regular as 
there ; so it is in the lava streams from Mont Dore. 

I asked Giapelli, an eminent engineer to whom Count 
Marzari Pencati of Vicenza gave us letters, to take me to 
see Giotto's pictures, on whicli Phillips gave a good lecture 
in Somerset House last spring. I suppose we saw them in 
1818, and that you remember them. To me they were quite 
new. The Chiesetta dei Oavalieri Godenti has all the walls 
painted by Giotto. It is in the amphitheatre (Roman), or 
rather joins and looks into it. These knights were a power- 
ful and religious order, contemporary with the Templars. 
They called themselves ' Rejoicers in the mysterious joy of 
the blessed Yirgin.' Fresco I believe was then unknown, 
and the plaster was coloured in a manner which you know, 
yet the colours remain. On one side over the door is a 
view of Hell. The devil is a faithful portrait, full length, of 
the Burmese idol lately set up in the British Museum. (As 
there are many Eastern figures in other parts, Giotto may 
through Venice have got some imagery from Eastern super- 
stition.) He is eating a naked figure, and griping another in 
his claws. On his right is a Pope, with the white tiara, holding 
a purse full of money with a fast grasp in one hand, and 
stretching out the other to hless a starving woman, who is 
begging of him. Not far off is a naked cardinal, with a 
' Forfarshire rocks. 

204 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. viii. 

red cap. Two demons near the entrance gate are pulling in 
head-foremost a priest in his black gown. On the devil's 
left hand are numerous demons pushing various figures into 
a gulf of mud. Giapelli tells me that Dante and Giotto 
were friends, and that it is not known whether the painter 
borrowed from the poet, or the poet from him. But that a 
religious order of knights should have had this satire 
blazoned on their walls, is a trait of the times worth know- 
ing ! Of course the vulgar were not admitted. The form 
of the room is that of many meeting halls of Freemasons. 
When it became a church, they could not destroy it, without 
its making the satire more public, as a chancery injunction, 
or K. B. prosecution for blasphemy, circulates the evil ten- 
fold. But it is singular that they chose to make it a church, 
and shows that it must have been received doctrine that 
the wicked among the popes and cardinals might expect 
equal justice. All this is of course in print somewhere. I 
am going to Parma with a letter from Buckland to Professor 
Guidotti, from whom he says he learnt most of any north 
of Apennines, in Italy. I hope I may hear from Kinnordy at 
Florence. All tell me that if I would do Etna well, I must 
lose no time, because of snow. 

With my love to all, believe me, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 





To His Sister. 

Florence : October 10, 1828. 
My dear Caroline, — I went from Padua to Verona, and 
made a good geological expedition to the celebrated Ponte 
di Veja, a natural bridge over a valley, whicli is a very 
striking object. As I found no letters at Verona, I went to 
Parma with a letter to Professor Guidotti, a gentlemanlike 
and agreeable man, who welcomed me in a most delightful 
manner. He has the finest collection of fossil shells in Italy 
and as they chiefly belong to the most modern formation, it 
was of first-rate interest to me to get from him a multitude 
of facts. You may suppose I was not a little happy to find 
that he was anxious to have as much geological instruction 
from me which my tour had enabled me to give him. So 
we spent three days, from six o'clock in the morning till night, 
exchanging our respective commodities, and I believe those 
which he gave me were at all events the most substantial, 
for he liberally presented me with a set of most of those 
shells which occur in the sub- Apennines, identical with 
species now living in the Mediterranean, to me a useful 

206 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

gift. He was so excited by our geological researches and 
conclusions, that the very day I left Parma he started on an 
expedition planned by me. Imagine what fossil conchology 
has become in this country, when I tell you that he has 1,100 
extinct species as perfect as when they lived, which is 
infinitely beyond the number now living in the Mediter- 
ranean and Adriatic, and he finds at the rate of 50 new species 
a year, which fishing in those seas would not do. At Bologna 
I introduced myself to Professor Ranzani, who showed me 
the Museum, &c., and gave me a recommendation to Professor 
Targioni here. In the two days which it required for a 
vetturino to crawl over the Apennines, starting at 5.30 and 
arriving after dark, I made out the series and succession of 
rocks very well, for I always walked when the horses did, 
being unable to sit upright in the cabriolet. But after all, 
one gains in information, as well as in pocket, by travel- 
ling thus : you hear Italian talked, a great point, and see 
many curious characters. Our party consisted of a clever 
and pleasant French lawyer, a young Greek gentleman 
educated in Italy, a Sardinian priest, and a French mer- 
chant, all men of my own age. Targioni introduced me 
here to Professor Nesti and Baron Bardi, who showed me 
the Museum. With their instruction, I rode to the upper 
Val d'Arno, a famous day for me — an old lacustrine deposit 
corresponding delightfully with our Angus lakes in all but 
age and species of animals ; same genera of shells. They 
have just extracted the fortieth skeleton of hippopotamus ! 
have got above twenty elephants, one or two mastodons, a 
rhinoceros and stags, and oxen out of number. I forgot 
an adventure at the Douane at Parma. Dr. Lorenzone of 
Vicenza had given me some Monte Bolca fish as a present. 
I told the officer they were not minerals, and after a debate 
he said, as there was no metal in them, perhaps they were 
not, but I must declare what they were. ' Pesci petrificate.' 
' Dunque sono cose vegetanti,' and showing me that the law 
enumerated all vegetating things, he insisted on taxing me. 
As I knew the joke would be relished at Parma, I told him 
to make out a bill, for I meant to appeal. But when it was 
drawn up, the soldiers and clerks laughed and quizzed the 
Douanier, so that he threw the bill into the ditch, and made 

l828. VAL D'ARNO. 207 

out another, calling them minerals, to my great disappoint- 
ment. He only made me pay threepence English ! I am 
rather stiff to-day, for I had to ride to Val d'Arno and back, 
37 miles, and walk ten to fourteen hours, — hard work. I 
got a letter from Murchison here ; he has worked hard in 
Tyrol. I got a famous letter also from Scrope, full of geo- 
logical and practical hints on Sicily. I must make up my 
mind to rough it in earnest, it seems. He recommends 
boating a good deal off the coast, because the sailors are 
more honest than the landsmen there, and beca.use my boat, 
drawn up on the sand, will be a far better bed than any I 
can get there. How comfortable ! He also declared that as 
they gave him dogs to eat, and stones, miscalled bread, that 
portable soup would be as indispensable as to Captain Parry. 
He speaks of course not of the Grande Route, but of a geo- 
logist's. I feel more and more every day, that unless I see 
some district with my own eyes which has suffered from 
recent earthquakes and recent volcanoes, the first start of 
anything I write would be at a halting pace, and built on 
the facts of others, which might perhaps, as applied by me, 
afterwards give way, and down would come the theory, true 
or false. 

To-morrow I start for Siena. I shall be very glad to hear 
from Kinnordy at Naples. 

Tour affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Rome : October 20, 1828. 

My dear Marianne, — I believe I gave Caroline a history 
of my progress to Florence, in the two days' journey from 
thence to Siena. I contrived, by dint of a small gig and boy, 
to do a great deal of geology, going round by Colle and the 
valley of the Elsa Eiver, which was a favourable tour for me, 
as bringing down the chain of geological events to a later 
period than any of equal extent which I had seen, except, 
perhaps, in the Upper Val d'Arno. But the lacustrine forma- 
tion of Elsa was new to me, not only as containing in it 

208 s/J! CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

mucli travertin, just like the Bakie limestone,' but because 
there are hot springs still producing the same rock. I 
believe the shells (freshwater) of Elsa will prove all recent 
ones; the Neritina have their colour well preserved. Yet 
there are valleys 100 feet deep, and towns in them in this series 
of strata, which overlie others, analogous to our most modern 
in England, excepting of course our Angus Lake deposits. 
That part of Tuscany is very picturesque. At Siena I had 
not the same good fortune I had had at Florence to find the 
geologists in town. One to whom I had a letter, Mazza, was 
just getting on his horse for an absence of several days, but 
stopped an hour, and showed me a collection of fossil 
shells, which, if I had not seen Guidotti's at Parma, I should 
have thought much of. After one day's exploration of the 
geology of Siena, I took a gig for four days to Viterbg, in no 
small fear that I should repent having defied the rain ; but 
as Murchison and I were never stopped once in three months 
by rain, so I had three splendid days for my work, and, 
indeed, half the fourth, when I got inside a iioiturier's 
machine for the rest of the way to Rome, and then it rained 
plentifully. Almost the whole way from Siena to Viterbo is 
a theatre of extinct volcanic action. Such repeated layers 
of ashes, pumise, tufa, and dust, cemented with stones in 
very thin seams, that the eruptions must have been numerous 
beyond measure, as high hills are formed entirely in this 
manner. These and the lavas were just like Auvergne, but 
there are more fine lakes in ancient craters than one can see 
in France. Bolsena is the largest. All these spent 
volcanoes threw their ashes and lavas over that formation 
which contains the 1,100 species of marine shells which I men- 
tioned I had seen in Guidotti's collection. Some geologists 
pretend that there are proofs that the volcanoes began before 
these strata had done forming, which may be true of some; but 
I have seen none yet, although I have been from morning 
till eve immersed in matters relating to times beyond the 
flood. I must of course have had many adventures of post- 
diluvian date, and among those I may enumerate the vile 
Douane, where all my shells and specimens were opened and 
disturbed. In the coach at Viterbo I found a Eoman priest, 
' In Forfarshire. 

l8:!8. GEOLOGY OF ROME. 209 

head of a college, who had been thrown by accident with two 
Scotch clerical students (going to the Irish Catholic College 
for their education), who could not talk Italian or French, and 
were getting on in moderate Latin with the old gentleman, 
in which language for a whole day, for the first time in my 
life, I had to talk all the way to Rome. At Rome I found the 
geology of the city itself exceedingly interesting. The cele- 
brated seven hills of which you have read, and which in fact 
are nine, are caused by the Tiber and some tributaries, which 
have cut open valleys almost entii-ely through volcanic 
ejected matter, covered by travertin containing lacustrine 
shells. The volcanic strata repose in the Monte Mario on 
the sub-Apennine formation, or strata containing shells 
analogous to our most recent formation in England. 
The shells in the travertin are all real species living in Italy, 
so you perceive that the volcanoes had thrown out their 
ashes and pumice, &c., and these had become covered with 
lakes, and then the valleys had been hollowed out all before 
Rome was built 2,500 years and more ago. Thus giving us 
a grand succession of events later than the formation of the 
Monte Mario beds, in which few living species of shells are 

Naples, October 29, 1828. — After two rather fagging days, 
I arrived here safe. I persuaded the whole party (four 
Frenchmen who were with me posting to Naples) to stop 
and see Lake Albano, the crater of an old volcano, with 
which they were fortunately delighted, as very picturesque. 
The Pontine Marshes are nothing but the swampy deltas of 
three rivers, like the lower part of the plains of the Po. 
Arrived here, I went straight to Colonel Visconti, the geo- 
grapher, Capt. Smythe's friend, who immediately put me in 
the way of everything. As all the geologists were gone to 
the island of Ischia, where I always intended to go, I 
embarked immediately, and just arrived in time to miss 
them ; fortunately perhaps, for in three days' active exami- 
nation of that beautiful isle, I flatter myself I made some 
discoveries, which if I had been lionised I should certainly 
have missed. I found shells, among other things (marine), 
2,000 feet high on the old volcano, which had not been 
dreamt of here. But the people ! — nothing you ever heard of 


210 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

them is I believe exaggerated. I do not mean as to the graver 
charges, for of course those only who live much among them 
can judge of that, but as to what one sees characteristic in 
passing through them. It seems as if one half of an 
immense population, noisy and cheerful, had nothing to do, 
and the habits of course of those to whom time is of no 
value are most inconvenient to anyone who wishes to make 
good use of his. On an expedition, the hours spent in 
bargaining is a nuisance to which even the north of Italy 
is a joke. In the shops there are no fixed prices. Whatever 
contract you make, your driver or boatman finds he has 
done something more than was specified, into which he has 
designedly led you. The Ischians are just the same, and 
famous gasconades. The following was my rencontre yester- 
day with a chasseur, on the hills, about my age. * Where 
does this aqueduct go to? ' 'To Isehia, sir ; five miles long, 
and cost 25,000 piastres.' ' How old ? ' ' Eighty years ; 
built by the town.' ' Was it injured by the earthquake of 
February ? ' ' Not a stone ; had it been thrown down, Isohia 
would be dead ; they must drink salt water.' ' Were 
any houses in Isehia hurt ? ' ' Not one, by St. Nicholas ! I 
wonder at it.' ' So do I, it was very close to Casamia.' ' No, 
no, no ; I don't mean that ; but in Casamia they are honest 
folk, but in Isehia all rascals, robbers, assassins, 5,000 of 
them, and all thieves, by St. Nicholas, I wonder they were 
spared.' The Government have sent ofF the steamer to 
Marseilles, and I must work here for a. week. No other 
way of going, for the pirates of Tripoli have taken so many 
Neapolitan vessels, that no one who has not a fancy to see 
Africa, will venture. The rain has begun to-day. 
Your afifectionate brother, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 


Naples : November 6, 1828. 
My dear Murchison, — I am just returned from a safe 
expedition to Paestum, and as far as shells in the travertin 
are concerned, I hope to do a little, but in general the geo- 
logy between this and the plain south of Salerno is very flat 

i828. ISCHIA. 211 

the Apeninnes, as usual, presenting tliat dearth of fossils 
which renders them everywhere so monotonous. They are 
very siliceous in these parts^ cut into deep valleys, and near 
Vietri is a fine example of an old lacustrine formation, which 
was gradually deposited when the valleys between that and 
Salerno were two or three hundred feet less deep than now. 
It was in the style of Cadibona, and though I found nothing 
but small pieces of carbonised wood in some of the red clays 
(red just like the cement of Mediterranean breccia), I have 
no doubt that remains which might rival the Anthracotherium 
would reward a good search, of which in this coujitry there 
is no chance. 

As I passed rapidly from Eome to jSTaples, I shall reserve 
my observations in that country till my homeward journey 
enables me to fill up certain hiatuses. Here I found the 
steamboat, by which I was to have sailed forthwith to 
Palermo, detained by the Government on special service, 
and as I was condemned to the Phlegrean Fields for twelve 
days, I sailed immediately to Ischia, after passing the Solfa- 
tara, Monte Nuovo, Lake Averno, &c., on my way to Puz- 
zuoii, and seeing them all. I found Ischia just what I had 
hoped, a most admirable illustration of Mont Dore, with the 
difference which we sometimes wished for, as the substitution 
of marine for freshwater, and the consequent abundance of 
organic remains. The older trachytes are positively many 
of them undistinguishable from Auvergne, as are the 
white tufas, sometimes pumiceous. But the analogy which 
struck me most forcibly was a quantity of streaked and 
ribboned altered marks, like those which we found so 
numerous on Rigolet, and of which we took some specimens 
as curious instances of ferruginous yellow and brown stains. 
I was not so lucky as to get a shell in any fragment of this, 
but I found, on ascending Epomeo, the same occurrence of 
clays just like the conchiferous beds which form the funda- 
mental strata of the island, as we found high up in Mont 
Dore marks like the queer Cypriferous marls of the Limagne. 
At last, at an enormous height, corresponding in Ischia to 
what the great cascade is in Mont Dore, I found, in a mass of 
this clay, marine shells unaltered, and belonging to the same 
class as those in the lower regions of Ischia. I feel no doubt 

T 2 


now that we were right in our speculations on the preten- 
due breccia, &c. ; besides which, I have now the satisfaction 
of having an example of marine remains at a greater height 
than any of Brocchi's sub-Apennines, and belonging to a 
formation decidedly more recent. It is annoying to find 
that Monticelli and Corelli have been poking about, and buy- 
ing shells in Ischia for years, and that they have not got 
half as many shells as I got during my visit, which amount 
to thirty species, without counting microscopies. The pro- 
portion of recent species is exceedingly remarkable. They 
alternate with the volcanic products of the old trachytic 
volcano Epomeo, which is surrounded by many minor vol- 
canoes of a date comparatively as inferior as is that of Tartaret 
or Chaluzet to Mont Dore. At least Epomeo is to me as un- 
intelligible as Mont Dore, and the others are as perfect as the 
craters of Vivarrais. Unluckily their lavas go straight to the 
sea in ridges, and then form promontories, and are nowhere 
cut by torrents ; otherwise, as the date of some can be nearly 
determined, they would have been invaluable documents of 

When I have seen the parasitic volcanoes of Etna, I will 
resume the conclusion as to Auvergne which Ischia sug- 
gested. I was much gratified by finding that the dikes of 
basalt and compact lava, which are so numerous in the great 
escarpment presented by Somma towards the Atreo del 
Cavallo, agree with the dikes of the Hebrides and the lavas 
of Vivarrais in presenting us with coal -black pitchstone at 
their contact with the intersected beds of scoriae. 

Necker ^ must of course have observed this, though I 
had forgotten it, but we must take care to insert his obser- 
vation in our paper, or he will have a right to complain. It 
occurs in four or five dikes ; an inch or two of pitchstone 
(obsidian) separates the vertical dike from the horizontal 
tufas and scoriae through which it passes. 

Vesuvius after the eruption of ] 822 exposed seven dikes 
in the interior of the crater, quite analogous to those of 
Somma, but I am very sorry to say that the small sputtering 
cone which is now constantly filling up the interior of the 

' A Swiss geologist-, grandson of Saussure, who passed the last years of his 
life in the Isle of Skye. 

1 828. SHELLS OF ISCHLA. 213 

great crater of 1822 prevents my descending to examine this 
splendid modern analogy. 

Corelli bas been writing on the present state of Vesuvius 
for two years, and never went down to see the dikes in the 
crater. Nay, he has not been up Vesuvius at all in that time, 
and Salvedra swears he was never up Somma in his life ! 
Remember me kindly to Mrs. Murchison. 

Believe me, ever truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sisteb. 

Naples : November 9, 1828. 

My dear Eleanor, — My expedition to Ischia was of use to 
me here, for as I procured three times as man}' fossils in 
three days as they had ever got from the Isle, they regard 
me as a good workman. Costa, an ex-professor of Otranto, 
has named them all, so let the box go to the bottom, or 
the shells be annihilated by Douaniers, I will let the world 
know that the whole Isle of Isk, as the natives call it, has 
risen from the sea 2,600 feet since the Mediterranean was 
^peopled with the ver}- species of shell-fish which have now 
the honour of living with, or being eaten by us — our common 
oyster and cockle amongst the rest. Costa is to get my boxes 
of shells from Messina, &c., and examine many before I get 
back to Naples, which is getting work done rapidly, and will 
encourage me much. The grand difficulty in England is 
that our conchologists know nothing of fossils, but in a 
country where part or all of a formation contains recent 
species, this impediment is removed. My wish was to find 
this peninsula get younger and younger as I travelled 
towards the active volcanoes, and it has hitherto been all I 
could wish, and I have little fear of bringing a great part of 
Trinacria into our own times as it were, in regard to origin. 
Poor Costa, with several other naturalists of decidedly 
superior knowledge to any of the present professors in the 
university here, have been deprived of their chairs and 
persecuted to beggary for their ' constitutional ' opinions. 
The police discovered lately that they were earning some 
bread by teaching languages, natural history, &c.j and the 


public were prohibited from employing them even as private 
teachers, so that now their ruin is complete. In all the 
great states of Italy except Tuscany, the inquisitorial sup- 
ipression of all cultivation of science, moral or physical, is 
enforced with unrelenting rigour, and considerable success. 
Among eighteen persons shot for political offences, Carbon- 
arism, &c., the day before I passed through Salerno, several 
were priests. On the road to Pesto I met three detachments 
of similar prisoners with guards. They were strung together 
by ropes, like those met by Don Quixote. Tlie driver of my 
gig to Pa3stum, an arrant coward, kept comforting himself 
on the number of troops sent to quell political disorders, 
and then came to me in the middle of the night at Eboli, to 
try to make me go in the dark, to take advantage of the 
French Ambassador's escort, who was going to visit the 
temples. As I wanted to geologise the recent travertins of 
the intervening plain by daylight, I did not stir till 6 a.m. 
The Temple of Neptune is the finest relic of anti(juity I ever 
saw. The travertin of which it is built was in such enor- 
mous blocks that they cannot be used for other buildings, 
unless carved and cut, and this is far more expensive, as they 
are very hard, than quarrying fresh travertin. This I believe 
has saved them partly. The same size of blocks would enable 
them to resist earthquakes, which have troubled this coast ; 
for when Messina was shaken down, the jail alone stood, 
built of large stones. I have not seen the spectacle inside 
of Vesuvius yet, for in high winds, which have prevailed, so 
many loose stones are detached, that the cone cannot be 
scaled, but I have done the geology pretty well, and boated 
it along the section of the cliffs of lava facing the Bay of 
Naples. Pompeii afforded me some good geological hints, 
besides, of course, much amusement and instruction. The 
paintings frescoed on the walls of some newly disinterred 
houses are in such Chinese perspective, and so many ages 
behind the bronzes and statues and alto-relievos in the same 
houses, that my faith in the excellence of ancient painting is 
somewhat shaken. The head man who was my cicerone 
there was ignorant to a diverting degree, not often the fault 
of Italian lionisers. ' This, sir, is the wife of Pompey the 
Great, named after Pompeii ; she is weeping her husband's 

i828. NAPLES. 215 

death, who was killed at the siege of Troy ! ' I have, of 
course, seen the museum here of things found in Herculaneum 
and Pompeii. It is of great interest, but of less than it ought 
to be made, if the Government was spirited. Scarce a fourth 
of Pompeii, or a hundredth part of Herculaneum, is explored. 
There has not been enough done in excavating small private 
houses, and preserving the furniture. The innumerable 
bronzes and busts, &c., one sees equal and superior else- 

Dr. Daubeny's ' letter came yesterday, with many good 
hints on Sicily, and a joint letter from Dr. and Mrs. Buck- 
land this morning is full of good practical hints, as well as 
scientific. It is a most kind service to have done me, for as 
they are persons who make no difficulties, I am sure that 
whatever they recommend is indispensable. So I have bought 
tea, sugar, cheese, and four bottles of brandy, which Mrs. 
B. says wiU keep off malaria, and their weak wine will not. 
It seems that even in winter this evil attacks those who 
live foor, and where inns are few and bad, you cannot live 
well unless you provision your mule. Between Messina and 
Syracuse lies all that is of the greatest importance to me, 
and I have still a fair chance of doing it before the December 
rains set in seriously. Naples is not so dear a place as 
Florence or Rome, for those who are a match for the natives. 
If you are inclined to be absent, as I am, it is a good place 
to cure you, for you must have your wits about you every 
moment. I asked yesterday if it was too late to frank a 
letter. ' No, sir; mind if it is to England, you only pay fifteen 
grains (sous).' I thought the hint a trait of character, as 
they are all suspicious of one another. The clerk demanded 
twenty-five. I remonstrated, but he insisted, and as he was 
dressed and had the manners of a gentleman, I paid. When 
I found on my return that I had been cozened, I asked the 
head waiter, with some indignation, ' Is it possible that the 
government officers are all knaves ? ' ' Sono Napolitani, 
Signor; la sua eccellenza mi scusera, ma io sono Romano.' 
When the Austrian troops retired, the king gave the officers 
a choice of any new uniform they pleased, and they actually 
chose the Austrian ! After their dastardly stand, which 
' Professor of Chemistry at Oxford. 

216 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

followed all their vapouring about a constitution, I think 
this is as memorable a proof of want of national pride as 
was ever known. They are a very fine-looking people, and 
become the lion's skin far better than the troops from whom 
they borrowed it. There is a Virgin, with candles always 
burning, in almost every cafe and wine-house. The noise in 
the streets is dreadful. As in ordinary squabbles, men and 
boys bawl louder than our criers, all those who cry various 
goods for sale, quite deafen you, and as many are hoarse 
habitually, it is painful to hear them. They roar as if they 
would bully j-ou into buying, and numerous idle boys spend 
hours in mimicking them. 

I shall perhaps get to Rome still in December. With 
my love, believe me, 

Your afiFectionate brother, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Catania : November 29, 1828. 

My dear Marianne, — After my successful expedition to 
Val del Bue and return here, I went this morning to see the 
Islands of Cyclops, eight miles from hence, and made a good 
cruise. The chief of these small isles opposite Trezza is to 
an ancient lava of ancient Etna what the Needles in the 
Isle of Wight are to the chalk of that Isle — detached portions 
in the sea. This, Virgil said, the giant Polyphemus threw 
at the Trojan fleet. It still remains, but is wasting so 
rapidly, that in some 10,000 years it will be annihilated. It 
consists of basaltic columns, like the Giant's Causeway, 
covered by strata of clay. I saw that same clay was on the 
mainland at the foot of Etna, and some peasants assured me, 
that it contained ' roba di diluvio,' so I hastened thither, and 
found 700 feet and more up Etna, in beds alternately with 
old lavas, sea-shellsj fossils, but many I know of modern 
Mediterranean species. This is just what everyone in 
England, and at Naples and Catania, told me 1 should not 
find, but which I came to Sicily to look for — the same which 
I discovered in Ischia, and what, if my geological views be 
just, will be found near all recent volcanoes, and wherever 

i828. ASCENT OF ETNA. 217 

earthquakes have prevailed for some thousand years past. I 
have set a man and boy to work, at so much per day, and if 
they do their duty, I shall find, vs'heu I return from Etna, 
something that will fix the zoological date of the oldest part 
of Etna. I go up again to old Gemellaro's to-morrow at 
mid-day, if weather fine, to ascend Etna next day. 

Catania, Nov. 30.— Dr. Gemellaro'' called this morning, 
who has published on Etna. Confesses that he never hunted 
up the ' roba di diluvio,' because the shells they brought him 
were Mediterranean ones, and he supposed they were taken 
from the sea to strengthen walls ! ! A good joke, as I found 
them for miles, and in strata 100 feet thick ! He is not a 
little annoyed at seeing of how much importance I think it. 
I shall start for his brother's this afternoon. 

Nicolosi, Dec. 2.— I was most fortunate in my expedition 
to the highest cone. Old G. started me in the middle of a 
coolish night, by moonlight, so that we reached by daybreak 
the highest part of the woody region. There a fire was 
made of boughs from the old chestnuts and oaks, which, 
though one or two thousand years old, stand on modern 
lavas of the volcano. I had taken my tea-kettle, and, as a 
preservative against cold, made a breakfast of hot tea, 
following Captain Parry's advice. We did not cross much 
snow before Casa Inglese (9,000 feet high) : then we ascended 
the cone. I had determined to think with Ferrara, who has 
published the best guide-book of Sicily, that the sickness 
felt from the rarity of air on the summit of Etna was all 
nonsense, but I had no sooner ascended 200 feet from the 
hut called ' Casa Inglese,' than my head ached, and I felt 
squeamish. My guide said, ' We must go slower; I have 
known many vomit violently during this part of the ascent.' 
The fact is, you go up gradually to the foot of the cone, your 
lungs get pretty well weaned of breathing more condensed 
air ; but when you rise almost perpendicularly from 9,000 to 
10,000 feet, the air within you is so condensed, compared to 
the atmosphere you enter, that j'ou are ready to burst. Such 

* Dr. Giuseppe Gemellaro, who lived on Etna, and published a map of the 
early eruptions, His two brothers also devoted themselves to the study of the 
mountain, and Professor Carlo Gemellaro contributed important treatises, 
one of which, published in 1858, was dedicated to Sir Charles Lyell, 

218 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

vapours were issuing from tlie crater, that I saw nothing 
distinct in it ; but from it I saw into the Val del Bue, a view 
which Buckland had begged me to make an outline sketch 
of, and which in about half an hour I effected, I believe 
decently. Inside the crater, near the lip, were huge masses 
of ice, between which and the scoriae and lava of the crater 
issued hot sulphurous vapours, which I breathed in copiously, 
and for six hours after I could not, even after eating and 
drinking, get the horrid taste out of my mouth, for my lungs 
had got full of it. The wind was so high, that the guide 
held my hat while I drew ; but though the head was cold, my 
feet got so hot in the cinders, that I was often alarmed that 
my boots would be burnt. I descended to examine the 
' Cisterna,' a curious case of recent subsidence at the foot of 
the crater ; then to ' Torre del Philosophia,' which overhangs 
the head of Yal del Bue ; then back. Old G. said, ' I con- 
gratulate you on having done this on December 1, for the 
wind has changed, and you are probably the last who will 
mount this year.' Accordingly this morning Rosario, my 
muleteer, called me, and said, ' Signore, Mongibello e bianco 
come una colomba ' (they call Etna ' Gribello ' in Sicily), and 
sure enough I found that down to the bottom of the woody 
region, for 4,000 feet, the mountain was one mass of snow, 
such a metamorphosis in eight hours ! and sleet falling 
fast here. I am a willing prisoner, needing a. recruit after 
such a fag, with a good library of books on Etna, and a 
companion who has made the volcano the study of his life, 
and who has published the only scientific accounts of the 
late eruption. 

Nicolosi, Dec. 3. — Rain and snow. Old Gemellaro and 
his youngest brother (not Dr. G.) delighted to hear old stale 
news, which I read a month ago in French papers, of the 
Russian campaign, French politics, &c., for the Government 
lets them know nothing in Sicily. The young G. who has 
come here, finding I had only a brazier of charcoal in my 
room, has ordered a fire, God bless him, and I am at last 
warm. The elder G. is a kind of laird and chief maaristrate. 
Cannot talk French or English, so we talk half Latin, half 
Italian, and so always get on with one or other. He is 
really a good Latin classical scholar. 

I Si?. CATANIA. 219 

Catania, Dec. 7. — Left Mcolosi December 5. Visited only 
a fine instance of a lava of Etna, cut through by a river 
which it had crossed. Took a peasant for a guide from 
Aderno, a stupid officious bumpkin, whom I could not 
persuade to stay with my horse, while I went down to the 
waterfall. The lad, I believe, wanted to see what the devil T 
wanted to look for, so having, as he assured me, secured the 
beast, and tied him to a great stone, be came with me. 
After exploring, I became anxious, and told hina to look if 
the steed was safe. We climbed a rock, and saw he was 
just as we left him, but the nag, who was weary of standing 
still on a lava current, no sooner caught sight of us, than he 
plunged and pulled till he broke loose. He fancied we 
were on the opposite bank, as we appeared to be, from the 
winding of the river, so he plunged into the stream to join 
us. It was the Simeto — the old Simethus — the only one in 
all Sicily which deserves to be called a river, in a narrow 
gorge, a violent current, and just above a cataract. I thought 
it was all over with him. The saddle-girth gave way, and 
down went the saddle over the waterfall ; but the horse was 
a powerful creature, and landed safe, neighing all the time 
with his head turned to me, but he could not climb up the 
steep rocks on the other side. When I got down opposite 
him, he wanted to cross again to me, but as it was too 
dangerous, I prevented him with stones. I found the lad 
frightened out of his wits, and got at last in such a rage 
with him, that I threatened to throw him into the river, 
upon which he went off for assistance. I waited for an hour, 
when I saw two woodmen coming on the opposite cliff, who 
descended by my directions to the horse (the gorge was 
somewhat like the Isla at Airlie Castle, but less high) . They 
actually had to construct a path, and got him up with great 
difiBculty. In a word, he was not wounded, and we found 
the saddle, stirrups and all, floated three-quarters of a mile 
down in the middle of the river on a rock. The steed was 
brought over a ford, and I only lost three hours and a half, 
and 3s. for the men. I did some geology the same day, but 
could not reach Catania. Night comes on here like an 
eclipse of the sun, all in an instant, without twilight. The 
roads are getting horribly muddy. Eosario advised sleep- 


ing in a low inn, or rather stable, with the horses, twenty- 
five mules in the same, half of them loose. I dreaded a kick. 
' No fear,' said he ; ' you shall have clean straw, and I will 
sleep between you and the horses ! ' I insisted on proceed- 
ing to a village two miles on, which we reached at last. I 
went (d la Murchison) to the Pharmacia — the apothecary 
always sets up for a savant, and is much flattpred at being 
applied to for scientific information. After some talk, he 
sent all over the village, and at last procured me a bed, 
better than Aderno, for the inn there was vile enough. In a 
country where they have nine months' heat, there are no 
protections against cold. When I ordered a fire at Aderno, 
they brought a sort of garden flower-pot, broken, with some 
charcoal, for there are no chimneys. ' Have you not another ? 
This will not warm the room ? ' ' Yes, sir ; but you had better 
not, for you will be stifled.' ' Impossible ! One might as well 
talk of being stifled in the open air as here, with four doors, 
not one of which shuts close.' ' Four doors, sir ! Bless me ! 
Maria Santissima ! Why this is only one opening into another 
room, and this into a passage ; and this, sir, is the door, and 
this a window.' Now the last you must know W8S an open- 
ing with two shutters, for except in the capital towns of 
provinces the inns have no glass; so if you want light you 
must open the shutter, and let in rain and wind too. 
Rosario understands the commissariat department, and 
though the room is bad, I am never without prog. He 
believes in all the saints and miracles. I forgot to say that 
when he heard of the horse's escape, he crossed himself and 
said a prayer. When he learnt how he was got up the rocks 
on the opposite bank, and when long afterwards I related 
how the saddle was recovered, he drew his bridle, crossed 
himself, and said another prayer. On my return hej-e, I 
found I was elected honorary member of the Geronian Society 
of Catania, the only body which publishes anv memoirs on 
natural history and philosophy, and theirs are very respect- 
able. If detained by rain, I shall make use of their library, 
ours I should say, and reading-room. 

Ever your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

i828, A FESTA. 221 

To His Sistek. 

Syracuse: December 11, 1828. 

My dear Caroline, — 1 passed over the plain of Catania, 
a delta of the Simeto, early, following the sea-beach, near 
■\vhicli were hedgerows of Indian figs and aloes. Before 
the sun rose from the sea, all the snow of Etna was glow- 
ing with red, like another dawn in the west. I have seen 
this sight three times, a proof of fine weather and early 
rising. Slept at Lentini ; inn good, for Sicily ; glass window, 
and really not many panes broken. Next morning the 
churches began as usual to fire their batteries. They can- 
not pray in this isle without gunpowder. In Catania I was 
opposite the Duonio, and the smoke and din were most war- 
like. About fifty ' maschi ' are set in a row — small short 
iron tubes, with touch-holes — and a man or two stand with 
long canes lij^hted at one end, to fire them one after the 
other, like a /eit de joie, the instant the priest has said 
the benediction. A greater gun is often put in the middle 
or end, according to the fancy of different churches. One 
night at Catania I heard a drum and two clarionets, fol- 
lowed by a rabble, shouting and throwing up squibs and 
fireworks. ' What is this ? ' ' Per la gloria della Vergine.' 
' Delia Vergine ? ' ' Signor, si, della immaculata.' When I 
reached , Syracuse, it was the first of thirteen days' festa in 
honour of Santa Lucia. 600 ' maschi ' were let off in the 
piazza. As the Sicilian gentry are great sportsmen, they 
send their steeds to face the battery, for if they stand this 
they will not easily flinch from a gun. So the groom rides 
up, and the town boys stand behind with whips and switches 
to prevent a retreat. As they stand a good chance of a 
kick, and hope to see the grooms thrown, they are never 
tired of this sport. The horse rears and plunges his nose in 
the smoke, with the noisy mob behind, and I could not help 
thinking what religious associations the lads must acquire 
in regard to ' maschi.' From Lentini to Melilli. I had a 
letter to the vicar, a brother -memher of the Geronian 
Society. His invitation to sleep there was such as I did not 
choose to accept. The room I got (for inn there was none) 

222 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

was a queer place, and everj'tliing to be begged and borrowed 
but the bed. Next day I found that a crater discovered by 
the priest was a circular valley cut out of limestone strata, 
with three veins of volcanic rock through them. I must 
write to Dr. Gemellaro, for if he publishes this in the trans- 
actions of a Society at the font of Etna, it will be a joke 
against therci the}- will never get over. Went to Sortino, to 
see grottoes of Pentalica., where a vast population once lived 
underground. Made a man dig, by Buckland's direction, 
into stalactite, but the instrument was so bad, I was obliged 
ti) go away after four feet were dug into, and no signs of a 
bottom, or bones. Got too late to enter the gates at Syracuse ; 
such bogs as I have had to get through ! No funeral ever 
went slower than we for two days, and some fords not quite 
so shallow as could be wished. After seeing the paths 
called roads, near the great towns in Sicilj', I shall respect 
the worst in the Grampians, and honour the muddiest road 
in Angus. It requires force to extract the hoof, and a leap 
to jump down the stones. In summer they go by other 
tracts, now bogs which would swallow us up. At Ploridia, a 
small town near this, they showed me a room to which the 
caves I had seen at Pentalica would have been luxurious, so 
cold and stinking ; so off I went, determined to beg at the 
best house. There was only one with two storeys, a Phar- 
macy, and the owner, the Mayor or Syndico, a Maltese, who 
gave me an excellent apartment, was glad in return to hear 
stale news which I had read a fortnight before at Naples, 
the taking of Varna, &e., and he told me of some new anti- 
quarian discoveries at this city, and then politely left me 
alone. Eosario brought everything for dinner, and I gave 
the servant what a bed would have cost — a shilling- — and £rot 
here to breakfast in light rain, yet have geologised and 
antiquarianised all day with much success. An old monk, 
who collected shells and fossils, died lately, and I purchased 
the latter for a trifle ; not many, but good, and more than 
any other geologist has got to throw light on the old vol- 
canoes of Val di Noto. 

Licata, December 16.— From Syracuse by Noto to Gape 
Passaro, and then, to avoid some fords which the rains had 
swollen, by Spaccaforno to Scicli, 8. Croce, Terranuova to 

1 828. BARDSHIPS. 223 

Licata ; to-morrow to Girgenti. Beautiful weather for seven 
days, and I have made such progress in the geology of the 
isle, and have such a near prospect of completely mastering 
the difficult points, which no one ever did before, that I 
mean after the late fine weather to penetrate to Gastrogio- 
vanni, which I had entirely given up. The inns are exe- 
crable beyond description, and bread often requiring all the 
digestive powers which I have gained by being on horse- 
back for ten successive days for eleven hours each. 

Girgenti, December 18. — An uncomfortable inn at Nolo, 
but next day threatened with so much worse at Pachino, 
that in spite of Eosario's remonstrances I pushed on to 
Capo Passaro, but the old priest who had received the Buck- 
lands was dead. His young successor however, a simple 
frank young man, welcomed me in a dwelling like a humble 
Scotch Highland manse, and cold enough. Saw the fine 
rocks of the Cape that evening, and again before breakfast, 
and then on to Spaccafurno. My man had built on my 
staying, because the wind was very high, and turned out 
sulky. No inn at Spaccaforno, a great place bigger than 
Salisbury. Went to the Jesuits' convent. 'Would have 
been happy, &c., but the Bishop was arrived on a triennial 
visitation, and they and the Carmelitans crowded with his 
suite.' Went to beg of the Mendicant Capuchins. ' They 
had a room vacant, but the beds were all ordered off to the 
other convents for the Bishop.' At last Eosario made them 
understand we should pay as at an inn, and a monk gave me 
his cell. Such a villanous place, hardly room for a, small bed 
and tR,ble ; un swept, &c. The bread here and next day black, 
and half baked, and scarce digestible, and no meat, not even 
a fowl to be bought. Population 9500 ! Most of the brethren 
rude and uncouth. My host quite otherwise. On my com- 
plaining of the wine we had procured, he went out and came 
back with a bottle under his cowl, and a cheese. I thought 
of the friar in ' Ivanhoe,' but unluckily for my dinner, and 
the joke, both kinds of prog were very bad. He made a 
decent show next day of not having expected payment, but 
I said it was to sing masses for my soul. Next night on to 
8. Grace. Eoad horrid ; no inn, but a camera attached to a 
* fundaco ' or mule stall ; and as you may be obliged to sleep 

224 SJR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

in the latter, this chamber ranks here in a muleteer's esti- 
mation as respectable. Each of the dirty family sleeps in it 
by turns, and turns out for the stra.nger. The cobwebs were 
thick and pendent, and tbe hostess said, ' Cercate, Signor, 
ma non c'e altra.' with such an air of presuming on her 
monopoly, that I applied to the Syndico, who ordered me an 
apartment belonging to the commune. It was decent but 
gloomy. Next night, at Terranuova, I petitioned for more 
bedclothes at the inn. ' Non c'e altra coperta, Signor.' 
' Can't you borrow one ? ' ' No.' In such weather in Scotland 
you migbt do without fires, but here the houses are planned 
for beirg cold. The sun is very warm from 11 to 2 o'clock, 
even a few lizards out, and Papilio cardui, edusa.phlwas, bras- 
sica, and rapw, and the moth, popularis (all British), without 
any foreigners mixed. Many flowers in full bloom, a blue 
iris, daisies, marigold, rosemary, and numerous splendid 
slirubs by the sea-side, some of which I remembered in the 
garden at Bartley. The olives are old and picturesque, and 
their light green, and the ricb green of the Carubiere,' witb 
very rarely a deciduous tree, make it quite unlike winter 
in appearance. As the inn at Licata yesterday was the best 
since Syracuse, I did not sleep, as I n:ight have done, at a 
rich merchant's, Mastroeni, to whom I had a letter, but went 
to a soiree there, very gay. Saw the fine old Doric temples 
of Agrigentum on my way to this, — fine geological sec- 
tions near them. I found the people here, as indeed I had 
found them everywhere in Sicily, celebrating a festa, but 
the cause was novel. Eleven years ago the citizens and 
populace threw down the King's statue, and broke every 
limb to atoms. His Majesty, of his royal clemency, bethought 
liim, eleven years after, of punishing them by transferring 
the tribunals to Caltanisetta, a smaller city, where a power- 
ful garrison kept all loyal, as they did in two other places 
only, in all Sicily. Hearing of this threat, the magistrates 
ordered a new marble statue from Palermo, which was 
being set up when I entered. But the fatal decree arrived 
first, so the senate, to propitiate the King, ordered a three 
days' festa, and all the usual ceremonies are to be per- 
formed before the statue, while they are to obtain inter- 

' Ceratonia Siliqiui. 


cession of a patron saint when they carry out or go in 
procession to the image of the Virgin, or their protector 
St. John. The Bishop and clergy attended, and sung solemn 
mass ; maschi were fired off, and in the evening above a 
thousand were to be exploded. Service also in the cathedral. 
I looked in, and while the people were on their knees, the 
organ playing and the bell sounding, in came a military 
band playing a march, while a file of soldiers fired off a 
volley just within the porch, and made a terrific noise in the 
Gothic aisles. There was to be two more days of this, and 
they still hoped that when the King heard of such devotion 
he would relent and reverse his decree. The Sicilians have 
the character of being very sincere among Italians, and com- 
pared to Romans or Neapolitans I believe they are so. The 
King and Government are unpopular, and the former known 
to be a mere gourmand and sportsman, yet what did the 
Eoman senate of old ever do more servile when they decreed 
divine honours to Augustus and other living emperors. I 
forgot one droll sight. Fifteen orphan boys were paraded 
before the statue stark naked on a windy day, and then 
clothed by the Bishop in the name of the King. 

Bagusa, near Modica, December 25. — From Girgenti I rode 
through the heart of the island by Cannigatti, Caltanieetta, 
Piazza, and Caltagirone, to Vizzini, within a day of Catania 
again, to get new sections of the old limestone and volcanic 
district of the Val di Noto, and decide the difficult problem 
whether the rocks of the east or west of this isle were first 
formed, for certainly they were not contemporaneous. I do 
not wonder so many have doubted, for the convulsions have 
been tremendous, though the strata, geologically, is very 
modem. I have made up my mind on the subject, and am 
glad I returned, though I half repented when I found in so 
many large finecitiessuchwretchedaccommodation, especially 
on two of the days when I did less geology than on the coast, 
but the Val di Noto redeemed all. The centre of the isle is 
without wood, downs, with grass and wheat on clay soil, the 
latter a few inches high. It ought to be 1^ feet, and the 
farmers are alarmed at the extraordinary want of rain, which 
has been so favourable to me, as the clay districts have 
become hard again. Short as are the days, ten hours or less, 

VOL. I. Q 

226 S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

Hosario says tliat few Englisli travellers can ever work more 
hours daylight, for they are obliged to be indoors in the 
heat of mid-day, as in other seasons. Near Piazza, where 
there was no geology, I went after an Hipparchia, the first 
I had seen. It was pamphilus, and I also saw Magwra. 
Eosario must needs imitate me, and has really acquired so 
good an eye for a fossil shell as to be of great use. He 
dismounted, caught a pamphilus, and holding it battered 
'twixt finger and thumb, pronounced after a stare this notable 
opinion : ' Questo e un grillo alato, ma ce ne sono in Sieilia 
che volano senza ale.' Shortly after this he was pitched 
headlong over the mule's head : his hand swelled with the 
fall. I conclude he was snoozing, though he gives another 
explanation. He tells me I am taken for a merchant travel- 
ling for trovatura, or treasure-trove, and the peasants offer 
themselves for guides to the grottoes where the Saracens are 
said to have left enormous treasures, but where no one has 
yet had the art to extract anything. At Palagonia the 
best room was occupied by a Sicilian baron. Innkeeping 
must be a bad trade, as I had never found the best room 
taken before, so I was given the barn. Had it been a windy 
night I should have suffered much. Here the loft of the inn 
was so small, and had been uneleaned for so many years, that 
I went out and applied to the first peasant I met. He showed 
me his cottage, very clean and comfortable, gave me the key, 
and left me and Eosario in full possession. Most of the inns 
in Sicily must have been designed for travellers below the 
rank of ordinary peasants, judging by the comparison. I got 
a good many shells at Caltagirone, most of any place since 
Syracuse. Not a drop of rain now for fifteen days ! 

Palermo, December 31. — Arrived to-day, somewhat fagged, 
but the beautiful appearance of this city and the fair promise 
of the inn have quite set me up ; and as I shall be busy every 
moment till I sail for Naples, I will employ a few minutes, if 
but to tell you that in the honest peasant's bed above men- 
tioned I slept not, though tired, ten minutes in the whole 
night. They had added, at my asking for covering, an old 
blanket, in which were more fleas than all the insects in our 
collection, and I suppose they had starved since last winter, 
for next morning I was marked all over from head to foot 

i829- PALERMO. 227 

with red spots like one of the Ancient Britons with his body 
painted. I never passed such a night since I had the measles 
at Sarum, yet the host and Eosario thought it a capital joke, 
and I heard them laughing about the ' pulci' having found 
a piece of ' carne fresca,' and they gave me pretty clearly to 
understand that they thought one who could not stand a 
fleabite was unfit to travel. Eosario must needs pull out 
the blanket, to show where they were sleeping next day, and 
they were in thousands, yet the owner and his wife use this 
blanket without inconvenience when it is cold. 

I shall send Fanny a letter from Naples or Eome, in 
which I shall write some adventures of the last part of my 
tour, that you may have a complete idea of the luxury in 
Sicily ; which, however, as far as my objects are concerned, 
has answered remarkably well, and for the time has yielded 
more than I could have expected. 

January 1. — A happy New Tear to you all at Kinnordy. 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chakles Lyell. 

To His Sistee. 

Palermo : January 1, 1829. 

My dear Fanny, — I find that I ante-dated by two days my 
last letter to Caroline, and wished her a happy New Ter.r 
before the old one was over. I was glad to find, when the 
cannon of this port fired a grand round at daybreak, that T 
had two days more to get back to town, which I hope to do 
before February is over. As for the two seas and the Alps 
which lie between England and me, and the vetturinos, and 
the winter, they all seem trifling inconveniences to me now, 
after five weeks' roughing it in Sicily, for I am sure it will 
all be luxurious comparatively. As they say that those parts 
of a tour read best which were least agreeable to the 
traveller, I shall go back to Ragusa, though you must not 
flatter yourself that you will hear of banditti, for every part 
of the island I went through, and that was about two-thirds 
of the whole, was, I am sure, as safe as the best parts of 
England. However, I believe I may absolve Scrope and 
others who wrote me discouraging instructions on this head 

a 2 

228 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

about the prudence of taking pistols, a fierce dog, &c. ; for 
when they were here, the late revolution, by suspending all 
law for a time, had rendered highwaymen numerous. 
Eosario saw twenty-six shot in one day, and being courier 
then, was allowed additional time for the letter-carrying, as 
he often went round, to avoid dangerous places. There is a 
strong military police now, for the poverty and misery of the 
population are at their height, and without a strong force to 
suppress them, they would be more honest than any in Europe 
if they did not turn robbers. I found that a chief of banditti 
from the side of Marsala (where I was not) has just been 
taken here, and shot, they tell me, without trial, a Turkish 
proceeding, but I hope this is not correct. These men were 
convicts in the islands off here, who escaped. Guidotti of 
Parma, a somewhat timid gentleman, never expects me to 
return, as a Prussian naturalist of his acquaintance was 
murdered three years ago. I learn that it was his own guide 
who was the assassin, and he the only traveller who for many 
many years has suffered. The population of Sicily is not 
one-fourth of what it was once. Syracuse alone had a 
number equal to the present total, yet the Greeks were always 
fighting each other, town against town. But they were 
active, industrious in commerce, and every acre was culti- 
vated. Now one-third of all the land belonging to the 
convents is ill-cultivated, for the friars never reside long 
enough in one convent to acquire a local interest. The 
bishop changes them from one to another, as often as they 
quarrel with him, or one another. Another third of land 
belonging to the nobles is said to have been also much 
neglected. But a strange revolution is going on. The old 
law of primogeniture is abolished, and the French system 
established of equal division, males and females. As this is 
only eleven years old, it has only begun to take effect, but 
the rich Prince of Paterno died lately, and I found the inn 
full of land surveyors, estimating his lands, which had been 
divided into eight portions, and many were selling their 
shares to Catanian merchants. The nobles were against the 
king in the revolution, and it is now the policy of the court 
(a short-sighted one, no doubt) to degrade them. The taxes 
are complained of as very exorbitant, raised to pay the debt 

1829. HEAVY RAIN. 229 

incurred by the Austrian occupation. After my sleepless 
night at Bagusa, mentioned in my last, I went to Castro- 
giovanni, and on my way was revived by finding in some 
marls some fine impressions of fish, the first fossils hitherto 
found in the formation which produces iiulphur and salt in 
Sicily. This will, I am sure, be of no small interest to Buck- 
land and Daubeny. I found the same again in four other 
localities on ray first two days' journey from Gastrogiovanni 
to Palermo, when at length I rejoined the carriage road, and 
continued on it for three days, making, in my whole tour, 
exactly five days, that I was on a road on which any machiae 
with wheels, however rude, conld move. Not that Sicily is 
at all unfitted to have beautiful roads at the same cost as 
any other country. As I had good reason to suspect that 
Eosario was planning being a day longer than I intended, I 
rode on before one day, starting early, and the night and the 
rain came on, and he could not quite come up with me. So 
besides the ordinary luxury of a Sicilian inn at Rocca 
Palumba, I had the benefit of a night without my baggage 
and portable provisions. But next day reached this, and no 
sooner had we arrived, than heavy rain, snow, hail, and 
thunder came on incessantly. Fords that we crossed daily 
during the last fortnight are now impassable, and journeys 
which we performed in a day, with as much ease as it is done 
in summer, are now two days' hard work through the clay 
and bogs. Yet this rain ought to have come three weeks 
earlier. The American Consul, Gardner, has given me some 
beautiful fossil shells. I drank tea there, and was glad to see 
again a regular English fireside and tea-table. 

January 3. — Made acquaintance with Professor Ferrara ; 
learnt much about earthquakes ; bought his books ; dined at 
Lord Northampton's. The Marchioness finds good marks 
for her wit in the numerous and illiterate princes and dukes 
who pay great court to them. I learnt much of the state 
and feeling of the Sicilian nohlesse by her criticisms. I have 
been to see the convent of the Capucins, where there are 
great vaults full of dried bodies. What an Egyptian piece of 
superstition ! Dukes and bishops, &c., dried, and in cofiSns; 
monks and paupers innumerable, dried and set up in their 
clothes ; some 150 years old, ghastly spectacles ; long files of 

230 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

these mummies, ten times more frightful than skeletons. 
These Capucins give soup to a hundred or more beggars 
daily. The mendicity here is distressing, not a noisy set of 
idlers making a trade of it, as at Naples, but the misery of a 
starving population ; children exposed in frightful nakedness 
positively howling at night in my street, and now and tlien 
well-dressed persons begging piteously. This faithless packet 
will never sail, they always promise solemnly to-morrow. 
A bad cold and slight sore throat, and my impatience at 
being detained, makes me low-spirited. 

Jamiary 5. — Bought some good fossil shells, saw the 
museum, cathedral, &c. Cold vforse, captain will not sail, 
and threaten him to wait for steamboat. ISTo keeping warm 
without stifling oneself with charcoal. The merchants here 
are gloomy about the end of the war, for they say the Black 
Sea will be open by demand of all the Powers, and their corn 
will sell no longer. The retreat of the Russians from Silistria 
is the theme of politicians. 

January 6. — The wind fair, and the scoundrel will not 
budge, for he is afraid as long as there is a cloud. Steam- 
boat expected. Dined with the ISTorthamptons. Met some 
Sicilians. The old lady made me go to the play with her and 
her unmarried daughter : it was one of Goldoni's, by good 
luck, and we got back to tea, and 1 had a talk till 12 o'clock 
with Lord N., who reads up to the day, and is a most agree- 
able companion. I had not exhorted him in vain to collect 
fossils, his old hobby, and he has already got some, and taken 
full instructions. Among other things, he means in February 
to go to all my localities of fish, and will probably send for 
Eosario as a guide from Messina. Lady N". gave me a hint, 
as from experience in Sicily, that I should often have slept 
sounder if I had had some straw taken from the rick, and 
slept on it in my cloak, which I shall remember another 
time in southern regions. 

January 7. — Is it not strange that the best houses belong- 
ing to Sicilians have no fireplaces or chimneys ? yet the snow 
now covers the hills which overhang the rich plain in which 
this beautiful town stands. The Northamptons have built, 
since their arrival, chimneys in all the rooms, and famous 
fires they make, to the great satisfaction of the natives. Thej 


have got a beautiful mansion. Almost all those of the 
nobility are now let out in floors to merchants and others [ 
Wind fair, and cannot get away. The excuse is infamous, 
after so many promises. ' Prince Butera has not yet sent his 
horses to embark ! ' The diploma which I found for Serope 
and myself, from the Geronian Society of Natural History in 
Catania, must have been devised by a ' Lepidopterist,' as 
Stephens would say, for among the emblems, a great butter- 
fly at the top cuts a greater figure than a range of basaltic 
columns at the bottom. 

January 10. — Gulf of Naples, on board ' Costanza ' brig. 
Although the steamer arrived on Thursday, my impatience 
to be moving brought me on board, but instead of sailing at 
midday, we were kept five hours, a fair wind blowing, 
waiting for a passenger whenever came. This lost us just a 
day, for we kept the wind till the middle of last night, and 
were then opposite the Isle of Capri. Three hours more of it 
would have taken us to Naples. After eight of dead calm, 
we moved on one mile per hour, the whole of to-day, then 
six miles the last hour, which brought us in at 24 o'clock, i.e., 
6 o'clock, or sunset, and the blessed police will not allow our 
landing till 8.30 o'clock to-morrow. ' Basta che siamo nel 
porto, Signor,' says the captain, coolly. Vesuvius, since I 
was here, put on a covering of snow down to the middle, 
which seems great presumption for a monticule not much 
higher, I fancy, than those of Glen Isla, and in this climate. 
I am the only passenger in the best cabin, and my knowing 
how crowded the cabin in the steamer is, was one of the 
principal causes of preference. But this is as rough as the 
interior of Sicily, and no bedclothes but a blanket, which 
is a bore, now a third night is added so unnecessarily. 
Talking of rough work, there were two things of which I 
deemed it advisable to break my valet Rosario. Krst, not to 
bring in the salt in his hands, often none of the cleanest ; 
and secondly, not to stuff the meat remaining after dinnei;, 
and intended cold for next morning, into my slippers, with- 
out at least some paper round it. From these he desisted, 
but a few hints on minor subjects were met with, ' A la guerra 
come a la guerra ! ' in which he was right as a traveller in 
his isle. We had quite a gale for the first twenty hours, nine 

232 s/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. ix. 

knots an hour, without a sail but two very small ones. I 
was very ill, but recovered so as to read and write ever since. 
Tour aiFectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To EoDEEicK Mtjkchison, Esq. 

Kaples : January 12, 1829. 

My dear Murchison,— Thrice did I entreat the lazy rascal 
who is intendant of the post at Palermo to look back over 
the letters of a month before, as I knew I had some waiting. 
I now find to a certainty, from the post oifice here, as well 
as the landlord of the hotel, that no less than three letters 
were there for me. As I have never once heard from home 
since we parted, I cannot tell you how great my disappoint- 
ment was, after being kept nine days in Palermo. They must 
now travel after me to Paris. One of them no doubt was 

I have so much to tell you, that where shall I begin ? 
My last letter was from Licata. Thence I went to Girgenti, 
and found that, notwithstanding what the Catanese said to 
the contrary, Daubeny was most indisputably right in 
identifying the calcareous breccia, as he terms it, of that 
place, with Syracuse, and as I afterwards found of Gastrogio- 
vanni. Then this formation (indubitably far, very far more 
recent, than the sub-Apennine beds) attains the prodigious 
height of 3,800 feet ! I got so astounded by the results I 
was coming to, in my tour from Etna, round by C. Passaro, 
that I began to doubt them ; and not without some struggle 
with, my desire to get out of the inns and horse-paths and 
other evils, I struck back again to Val di ISToto right through 
the centre of the isle, I found, as I believe I told you before, 
that the so-termed Blue Clay formation must be divided 
into two very distinct and in some cases unconformable 
deposits. The upper resembles the blue sub-Apennine marl, 
covered near Caltagirone with its true Sabbia giallonula. The 
lower is without shells, white marls, beds of gypsum just like 
th-ose we saw at Cagliari from Asti, beds of sand and sulphur, 
rock salt, &c. Now in the foliated marls (white) of this 
last formation, after searching in vain on the sea-coast, I 

1829. GEOLOGY. 233 

found at last organic remains. First near Radusa, a small 
hamlet in the interior, where fishes' scales, and some entii e 
fish like M. Bolca, turned up, and some impressions of 
leaves. Whether fish be marine or freshwater, I cannot say. 
Thirty miles off, near Gastrogiovanni, and in three other locali- 
ties between that and Palermo, I found the same fish in the 
same beds. But the first marked locality, only four days' ride 
from Palermo, is the richest, and would probably prove a 
M. Bolca with some labour, i.e., if the formation be not 
lacustrine or fluviatile, against which I know no argument 
yet. As a whole, it is uncommonly like our Superga marh, 
not a grain of green sand however, but positively identical 
with the beds I saw in my solitary expedition on the cheval de 
paste to the gypsum beds of [name omitted] , where also I found 
laminated marls with leaves between two gypseous strata. 
But these are mineralogical identities, and go for nothing. 
What will you say if I tell you that even the blue marl with 
its capping of yellow sand cannot be Broechi's sub-Appenine 
beds ? I am come most unwillingly to this conclusion. But 
the numerous extinct species which characterised the snb- 
Appenines are wanting here, and living shells are present too 
plentifully to admit a doubt that it is more related to our 
own epoch than that remote one when the Parmegiano and 
Plaeentino beds were deposited. 

I think from what I saw at Psestum and elsewhere that 
0. d'Halloy strained a point to make out some travertin 
older, but if I can find a day for Tivoli without hard rain, I 
will get more data. In the meantime, Sicily will throw all 
such proofs in the shade. 1 a.m much disturbed in mind 
about Siena, and must go there from Rome, to try and 
satisfy myself. My notion is that the tout ensemble of 
shells there will not be that of the Parmezan. I am begin- 
ning now to be able, when I see large collections, to distinguish 
between any marked difference in the proportion of lost 
species and genera. Sicily is as unlike Asti as possible, 
though there are some lost species in the former. 1 should 
build no system on such glances, but it might check me from 
reasoning too fast on the data obtained from zoologists as 
to Ischia and Etna. 

We must preach up travelling, as Demosthenes did 


' delivery,' as the first, second, and third requisites for a 
modern geologist, in the present adolescent state of the 
science. De la Beche is going just when he should. 

Yours ever most truly, 

Chaeles Lyell. 

To EoDEEiCK MuECHisoisr, Esq. 

Naples : January 15, 1829. 

My dear Murchison, — I leave for Eome to-morrow 
morning, and shall be there the day after. The rain is in- 
cessant and tropical. I have got all my shells named, 
except some which mifortunately I sent direct from Palermo. 
The results of my Sicilian expedition exceed my warmest 
expectations in the way of modern analogies. I will tell you 
fairly that it is at present of no small consequence to me to 
get a respectable sum for my volume, — not only to cover 
extra expenses for present and future projected campaigns, 
but because my making my hobby pay its additional costs, 
which it entails, will alone justify my pursuing it with a 
mind sufficiently satisfied with itself, and so as to feel in- 
dependent, and free to indulge in the enthusiasm necessary 
for success. I shall never hope to make money by geology, 
but not to lose, and tax others for my amusement ; and unless 
I can secure this, it would in my circumstances be selfish in 
me to devote myself as much as I hope to do to it. I have 
little fear of accomplishing so much, and with that view, the 
instant our Auvergne paper is off our hands, I shall set 
steadily to the task. M.j work is in part written, and all 
planned. It will not pretend to give even an abstract of all 
that is known in geology, but it will endeavour to establish 
the principle of reasoning in the science ; and all my geology 
will come in as illustration of my views of those principles, 
and as evidence strengthening the system necessarily 
arising out of the admission of such principles, which, as you 
know, are neither more nor less than that no causes whatever 
have from the earliest time to which we can look back, to 
the present, ever acted, but those now acting ; and that they 
never acted with different degrees of energy from that which 
they now exert. I must go to Germany, and learn German 


geology and the language, after this work is published, and 
before I launch out in my tables of equivalents. I shall, I 
expect, get out my book before the tardy G. S. gets out our 
Auvergne paper ; but no matter, as I shall always refer con- 
tinually to the MS. as read, and ' ordered to be printed.' 
This year we have by our joint tour fathomed the depth and 
ascertained the shallowness of the geologists of France and 
Italy as to their original observations. We can without 
fear measure our strength against most of those in our own 
land, and the question is, whether G-ermany is stronger. They 
are a people who generally ' drink deep or taste not,' &c. 
Their language must be learnt ; the places to which their 
memoirs relate, visited ; and then you may see, as I may, to 
what extent we may indulge dreams of eminence, at least as 
original observers. If I can but earn the wherewith to carry 
on the war, or rather its extraordinary costs, depend upon it 
I will waste no time in bookmaking for lucre's sake. At least 
I will answer for myself for many a day. Try to get me off 
being V. P. G. S., if intended again. I have, as you have, 
sacrificed something to official duties, and I am prepared to 
do so again at some future time, but I will not for the time 
coming, except as referee and councillor. As Sedgwick is to 
be President, there ought to be working V. Ps, and Pitton 
ought to be free now, he has done so much. I have a deal 
to tell you of news in geology, which the relation of what con- 
cerned me more nearly has left no room for, but you shall 
hear from Rome. 

Ever yours, most truly, 

Charles Ltell. 

236 s/H CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 




To Roderick Muechison, Esq. 

Eome : January 17, 1829. 

M^ dear Murcliison,— In the diligence I had time, as vre 
travelled from Naples, to re-read your letters. I believe all 
you mean by modifying the caveat is to avoid our appearing 
to announce as new an old well-kno"wn fact of lava currents. 
This is vrell, but the caveat part remains necessary. Your 
term ' stone walls ' is forcible, and not too strong, and should 
be inserted with ' as if between two,' or something in that 
way. I am anxious, as I told you, to throw off our principal 
paper, to clear the ground for other work ; and, besides, I 
should like them to see that ive do not require a year or two to 
hatch our materials. We will write it for reading, just as 
if we expected it to be put into the printer's hands the day 
after. That miserable old style of making a difference 
between a paper ' to be read ' and one ' to be published ' has, 
we know, been the secret of retarded volumes, overworked 
editions, and dull thin meetings, and it is very bad economy 
of time in authors. 

Getting eighty species (only part of my Palermo collec- 

i829. ROME. 237 

tion) named at Naples, enabled me, by working in the 
museum of their Academy, to identify a great part of the 
tertiaries of Calabria with certain parts of Sicily, chiefly 
with the tertiaries of Messina, which are in that island of 
very limited extent. I shall write a letter from hence to 
Lord Northampton, telling him that when he arrives at a 
hundred species, it is only his starting point, as I was there. 
He will be glad to hear the news of the scientific world, in 
yours and Fitton's letters. I do not despair of stirring him 
up to such a point, that he will send to town 300 species 
before spring, which will ensure me against the chance of 
having to renounce my present opinion on the proportions of 
Sicilian tertiaries extinct and identiques. 

Borne, Jamiary 19, 1829. — There is a deluge of rain here, 
after the drought. All tell me that I might have gone ten 
years to Sicily, and not experienced, the same absence of rain 
in the same season. What with the fine season in Auvergne, 
and all summer and autumn, was there ever a greater proof 
that Providence watches over geologists ? The chief danger, 
perhaps, in philosophical subjects is, that the majority may 
feel them cold, and without sufficient excitement. Mix up 
with this abstract quality a little human passion, a slight 
dose of personal interest, and you draw in ten times as many 
who look inho the thing, and some of them come over to you, 
and transfer the stimulus at first supplied by extraneous 
considerations to the real subject itself. Truth once per- 
ceived, never I am persuaded wanted supporters in this 
world, even if men were sure to be losers by their support. 
The only difficulty you have to struggle with is the enormous 
indolence of mankind, who will never look into evidence till 
goaded on to it by some stronger motive than the mere love 
of abstract truth. I speak of the ol ttoWoL Do not build 
too much on the Col de Tenda section, for next to the green 
sand I believe the pretended universality of the ' New red ' 
to be among the emptiest bubbles in geology. I have just 
learnt from Scarpellini, the astronomer, that Brocchi's com- 
pagnon de voyage, Ricasoli, is in Rome, and has some collec- 
tions made in that tour, and I am to beat up his quarters 
forthwith. Ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

238 s/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

To His Sister. 

Rome : January 21, 1829. 

My dear Marianne, — Although I cannot write you a long 
letter, I -will not leave this for Siena, for which I start to- 
morrow, without aclcnowledging yours, which I was very 
glad to find here. My letters from geological friends are 
very satisfactory, as to the unnsual interest excited in the 
Geological Society by our paper on the excavation of valleys in 
Auvergne. Seventy persons present the second evening, 
and a warm debate. Buckland and Greenough furious, 
contra Scrope, Sedgwick, and Warburton, supporting us. 
These were the first two nights in our new magnificent 
apartments in Somerset House. Their letters are all full of 
Dr. Wollaston's last moments, whose place they justly 
observe there is no one to supply in town. He has left 
2,000L to the Eoyal Society, and 1,000Z. to the Geological 
Society, a bequest, as Fitton says, which although of great 
consequence in itself, will do us more good as showing the 
deliberate approbation of such a miiid. I will send you, 
when I return, Murchison's two letters, with the account of 
the discussion on our memoir, which will amuse you. It is 
a very small part of our work. I am pledged to set steadily 
at the rest the moment I return, and expect that one month 
will do it, for M. has got all the organic remains named, 
and the mechanical work over. Longman has paid down 
600 guineas to Mr. Ure of Dublin for a popular work on 
Geology, just coming out. It is to prove the Hebrew cosmo- 
gony, and that we ought all to be burnt in Smithfield. So 
much the better. I have got a rod for the fanatics, from a 
quarter where they expect it not. The last Pope did posi- 
tively dare to convoke a congregation, and reverse all that 
his predecessors had done against Galileo, and there was 
only a minority of one against ; and he instituted lectures 
on the Mosaic cosmogony to set free astronomy and geology. 
How these things are so little known in Paris and London, 
heaven knows. They are golden facts, and I find the state 
of the question here to shame the Granville-Penn school of 
England. I have had great light thrown on Sicily and 


Auvergne by the travertins of Tiokes Tartari and Tivoli. On 
a fine day I saw the cascade, then full of water. I find the 
marine formation here just the same as Sicily, a new light 
to the geological world, and I bave now got full proof that 
half Sicily was formed since the '>''->iliterranean was inhabited 
by present species of testacea. The present Pope is a bigot, 
but has quite failed in sundry aifempts to undo what the 
last great man effected. He issued an order, which was 
positively published, to shut ujd the English chapel, but our 
Consul waited immediately on the Cardinal Secretary, and 
said he must, if the news was true, in pursuance of his duty, 
send off a messenger to St. James's ; but he hesitated till 
assured again, for he wished to remind his Holiness that 
there were numerous Catholic chapels and churches in , 
London, and although he would not take upon himself to say 
that his Britannic Majesty would instantly shut them all up, 
yet he would not answer for him. The order was repealed. 
You m.ay imagine how glad I shall be to get home after such 
a continual accumulation of materials, without time to digest 
and apply. I have, besides four books sent home by Mur- 
chison, nine others and a half entirely full of geological 
sections, notes, &c. It is very encouraging to perceive by 
my letters how much more every year the subject is taking 
hold of the public mind. My own opinion of its future 
capabilities has been very much raised by my tour in 

Believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 


Rome : January 22, 1829. 

My dear Murchison, — Monte Mario turned out, as I ex- 
pected, my Sicilian formation, and not sub-Appenine. Tivoli 
and its cascades gained in beauty by the late heavy rains, but I 
had my usual good fortune in a bright sunny day to view them, 
and study the grand section of travertin, 600 feet perpendi- 
cular, there displayed. That this was formed in an ancient 
small lake, and not, as some have dreamt, in the course of 
the Anio, I have full proof. Some of the pisolitic and oolitic 


travertin there throws much light on some of my Sicilian beds, 
as does still more Omalius d'Halloy's older travertin of the 
plain near Tartaret. That variety of travertin which they 
call ' tartaroso ' is precisely our great tubular travertin near 
La Serre, so like, that if they changed places, the migration 
would never be detected. This contains, with the plants 
(but very rarely indeed), helices. The older travertin, of 
which a great part of Rome is built, contains no organic 
remains. It affords me some delightful Sicilian analogies, 
but I hardly think it does any to Central France, at least I 
must see our specimens again before I answer for it. It is 
entirely different from the other travertin, or that which 
resembles the indusial. If I were to return to Auvergne, 
the indusial travertin and the other, and probably some of 
the rest of the compact calcareous limestones, would now 
appear as volcanic to my eyes as the augitic sands. It 
seems to me an immense oversight in all who have passed 
through Tuscany, the Campagna Romana, and Sicily, to have 
brought hot springs so little into play in their systems. 
There is in the Campagna di Roma a beautiful chain of 
alluvial phenomena, which, but for Moses and his penal 
deluge, would have thrown more light than any part of 
Europe on the modern ages of the earth's history, and they 
tend to confirm I think the Boulade ' case as viewed by us. 
I have got news again of the Viterbo bones, and envy the 
first Sedgwick who gets at them. They are elephant and 
CO., and are in an alluvium overlaid by prismatic lava of one 
of the extinct Tuscan volcanoes ! The elephant and rhino- 
ceros in alluvium about Rome, which is geologically thou- 
sands of years younger than ' crag.' This alluvium is 
younger than most, if not all of the extinct volcanoes of that 
district, as appears beyond a doubt both by its contents and 
its relation to the present valleys, and to the alluvial volcanic 
tufas. Ricasoli, who travelled much with Brocchi, is a 
capital worker, and if the poor devil was in a more favour- 
able situation would do much. Babbage or Herschel would 
be diverted to hear that Searpellini could not lionise the 

' Boulade bone-bed. See paper by Lyell and Murohison on Excavation 
of Valleys, illustrated by the volcanic rocks of Central France. — Edinlwgh 
Philosoj>hical Journal, 1829. 


mnseum to me this morning, as a Cardinal had requested 
him. to assist at the solemn benediction and christening of 
a great new hell, to be put up to-m.orrow in St. Mary's. But 
Ricasoli went with me to the museum, and the varieties of 
travertin there are most instructive. Lord Northampton 
had formerly presented Padre Ricca with a handsome set of 
Scotch minerals, and his letter of iatroduction procured me 
duplicates (very fine) of Sienese fossil shells from Eicca. 
Then 1 hunted up the widow of the late porter of the 
museum, and for a dollar and a half f!:ot forty species more. 
Then last, not least, Eicca introduced me to an active 
intelligent young Belgian, who has been sent by the King 
of the Netherlands to collect in natural history, by name 
Canraine. I found him very anxious to learn something of 
geology. He knew where the sections were, and went with 
me. I taught him the geology, and he gave me a list of the 
shells found in said localities. By degrees he became so 
interested with the new views, that he begged me to stay a 
day more, which I will do, for I shall get more fossils, 
and he has already undertaken that the University of Leyden 
shall send to our Geological Society a complete set of Sienese 
duplicates, and in return receive English fossils. We may 
hope for this next summer, and expect at least 500 or 600 
species. The result is that here the Sahhia giallonale is not 
one formation with the blue marl (which from here to south 
of Sicily is called by all, chalk, creta, and when they talk 
French, la craie). The sand has an immensely nearer rela- 
tion to the Mediterrranean than the inferior formation, and 
comes very close, if not quite, to any Sicilian fossil beds. 
Now I told Giiidotti that he ought to find something of 
this at Parma, where the whole thickness exceeds 3,000 feet, 
which could not be the work of a day, even in a geological 
calendar, but he protested it was not so. However, I have 
now stirred him up with a letter, and as he told me he 
should collect this winter quite with new eyes after my 
cramming, I shall look with much curiosity for his answer. 
Between the yellow sand here, which is 300 to 400 feet, and 
the inferior blue marl, which is thousands of feet deep, is a 
beautiful formation, consisting of alternations of fluviatile 
and marine beds. If the tertiaries from the north of Italy 
VOL. I. B 

242 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

to Cape Passaro shall ultimately correspond to my present 
view of them, they will I think establish for ever the eleva- 
tion theory ; but I am the more afraid of their certainty, in 
proportion as they suit, so beautifully, the system I antici- 
pated. But when all my specimens are examined, when the 
rest are collected by my agents and Lord Northampton at 
Palermo, when Costa sends me the results promised of his 
Calabrian expedition next summer ; when I get from 
Eicasoli the Eoman, and from Canraine the Tuscan list, and 
from Guidotti a fresh examination of sub- Alpine, &c., then I 
will make all necessary modifications ; for in the main I am 
sure I cannot now be shaken, and Ischia and Etna form one 
extreme of the series, and perhaps Parma, &c., the other ; but 
more when we meet. In the meantime do not take off the 
freshness of my revolutionary prospects by too early dis- 

Ever yours, 

Chakles Ltell. 

to eodeeick j. muechison, esq. 

Geneva: Februarys, 1829. 
My dear Murchison, — In my last I mentioned my Siena 
operations, which ended in my bringing away a respectable 
box of fossils, but unluckily we cannot at present get any 
collector there to work for money. At Genoa I found Viviani, 
gentlemanlike and intelligent, pretends not to geology, but 
would soon mnke any one like natural history, and we owe 
to him Paretto and Sasso. The former was , unluckily for me, 
still in Prance ; the latter, a young physician, has written a 
very fair memoir on the basin of Albenga, west of Savona 
and Genoa, and of which our Savona blue marl was an out- 
skirt, and he has given a list of 200 shells. Some Brongniart 
saw, and the rest Bronn, a German, corrected. I found that 
Paretto has lately published an article on the Cadibona coal- 
field, which, as well as Sasso's, I purchased after a toilsome 
hunt in the stalls. Paretto leaves little for us to do, but as 
you will soon read it, I say no more ; but the way he has hit 
off the Siena basin in a note, convinces me he will make 
head soon of all the Italians. He is only twenty-eight, 
independent, and full of zeal and talent. 


I found at a Pharmacien's a decayed jaw of Cadibona, 
which I strongly suspect was a stag's. It was not worth ac- 
cepting, nor would it have travelled, but I found a noble 
piece in the Museum, which they seem to have been hardly 
conscious of themselves, for Paretto positively overlooked it ! 
One molar and two ccnine teeth of an animal about the cut 
of a tiger, all fixed in the jaw, decidedly a large carnivorous 
beast. I got Viviani to order it from under the glass to his 
own house, and there to let me draw it ; and when he saw 
how badly I got on, he took his camera lucida, and with 
enviable rapidity and faithfulness finished a drawing of it 
of natural size, distinguishing also between the coal and 
bony parts. 

Viviani has some splendid views, founded on a multitude 
of facts, as to the distribution of plants in the Mediterranean 
islands, for botany is his forte. I struck up a geological theory 
to account for them, which, although it shook his nerves, 
pleased him so much, that he gave me two of his works on 
botany. I pushed on, per courier, through deep snow and 
hard frost to Turin, and was there only part of the day, 
closeted with Borelli nearly all the time. He showed me 
his list of the shells which La Marmora got this year in 
Sicily. Some species which I had not, but the whole not 
numerous. I was delighted to find that the conclusions from 
the list as named by Borelli were the same I came to from 
Costa's catalogue. Over the latter, B. looked with amazing 
interest, and after cutting up his names, &c., said, ' But still 
you need not be afraid to reason on them as a geologist ! ' 
He was astounded at the result, and said, ' I begin to think 
the day may come when the retiring of the ocean will be 
doubted and disputed by many.' He has at last been curious 
to know what difference there would be in the inferences from 
the sub-Apennine north of Tuscany, and at last proposed tliat 
when I published my Sicilian lists I should add one from 
him. I told him I should have craved this before, but did 
not, because T knew his intention to publish such a list. 
He looked over Sasso's Albenga list, and after swearing it 
was a string of blunders, surprised me by saying, ' Yet, after 
all, I have no doubt, from some Albenga shells which I have, 
that your conclusions from Sasso's list were quite just, and 

B 2 

244 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

though he has mistaken genera, &c. &c., yet there are not 
more than ten blunders in 200 which could mislead a geolo- 
gist, which would not he to him serious in the main.' 

There was nothing but snow and biting frost between 
Turin and Chambery in diligence. Thence to-day I came in 
a char, and did some interesting geology. A beautiful ter- 
tiary basin of green sand, facsimile in mineralogical appear- 
ance to Superga, and also with some blue marl surrounded 
by those marble-like, amorphous, dolomitic, or calcareous 
rocks like Nice. The pebbles are not Serpentine in this 
instance, but chloritic schist and green hornblende schist, k 
conglomeration just like Superga tops all. 1 shall get up 
this concern here. This green sand and sandstone, as well 
as the superincumbent conglomerate, is provincially termed 
' molasse.' 

February 6. — I have just had this morning a famous 
geologico-botanical discussion with Professor De Candolle, 
and am almost certain that my spick-and-span new theory 
on this subject will hold water. 

Always affectionately yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Geneva : February 7, 1829. 

My dear Father, — I arrived here on the evening of the 
5th. The hills between Genoa and Alexandria were covered 
with deep snow and ice, and the frost intense. I got a 
place with the courier, so that it was soon over, but though 
I wrote a week before to Turin, all the places per courier for 
jlont Cenis were forestalled for five weeks. The diligence 
performed twenty-four miles on sledges, and ought to have 
done much more. Two days before, an avalanche stopped 
the diligence for twenty-four hours, just at the very coldest 
part : they had just cut through it when we arrived. Fifty 
stout workmen were employed. The manner in which the road 
is kept up is admirable, and when one sees the Alps in winter, 
it is wonderful to think that one ccn pass in sixteen hours. 
I was not a little relieved when I got to Chambery, without 
a frozen toe or finger, for the cold is unusual this year. On 

1829. DE CANDOLLE. 245 

descending to A,' exandria, the chariot fell into some deep 
frozen ruts, and; shook me and the courier out of our sleep. 
The poor old gejitleman believed it was another earthquake, 
for he had been bruised by the shock when ew voiture on the 
same mountains. The gloom still sensible in the minds of 
the Genoese in consequence of the earthquake is very re- 
markable — it is now six months since. Almost every house 
was rent, the inn where I was had sixteen fissures in the 
walls. For eight days every vessel and boat in the port, 
every square, and all the suburbs, were filled day and night 
by the inhabitants. All the troops were insufficient to act 
as a police, as almost every door was left open, as each slight 
shock made them rush out. One more like the first would 
have brought half the town down. I have profited far more 
in my homeward tour, rapid as it has been, than I had the 
least idea I should have done. At Siena I got a handsome 
present of fossil shells from the excellent Padre Eicca, to 
whom Lord Northampton had given me a letter. I also 
struck up an alliance with M. Canraine, a naturalist now in 
Tuscany, charged with a mission by the King of the Nether- 
lands on scientific subjects, collecting, &c. His letters will 
give me much information which I yet want on the tertiary 
basin there. My facts on these recent beds in different 
parts are beginning to point to curious results. At Genoa, 
besides several geologists, I found Viviani, the botanical 
professor, a very superior man. His generalisations on the 
distribution of plants in the isles of the Mediterranean lead 
to splendid theories. I fitted them to my new system of 
geology for Sicily and Southern Italy, by which he was 
pleased, and gave me two of his botanical works. 

I was anxious to come here, instead of by Lyons, to get 
some ideas from De CandoUe on my new geologico-botanical 
theory. He did not of course remember me, but when he 
heard my name, he asked after you, and said I should take 
une petite brochure, as a souvenir from him. He is in full 
force, and has been most useful to me, having given me what 
cannot be bought, his splendid essay on Geographical Botany, 
the most beautiful generalisation of a multitude of facts 
which I think was ever produced in natural history. I am 
now convinced that geology is destined to throw upon this 

246 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

curious branch of inquiry, and to receive f/om it in return, 
mucli light, and by their mutual aid we shall very soon 
solve the grand problem, whether the various living organic 
species came into being gradually and singly in insulated 
spots, or centres of creation, or in various places at once, and 
all at the same time. The latter cannot, I am already per- 
suaded, be maintained. Viviani was puzzled to account for 
Sicily having so much less than its share of "peculiar indi- 
genous species, but this should be, for I can show ihat three- 
fourths of this isle were covered by the sea down to a period 
when nine-tenths of the present species of shells and corals 
(and by inference of plants) were already in existence. Such 
an isle like Monte Nuovo has been obliged to borrow clothes 
from its neighbour, having scarcely had time to furnish anj' 
yet for its own nakedness. It has not yet seen out a tenth, 
perhaps not a twentieth part of a revolution in organic life. 
Give it the antiquity of the high granitic mountains of 
Corsica, and it will also boast its indigenous unique plants, 
unknown elsewhere either in the Mediterranean or other part 
of the globe. 

Necker, grandson of Saussure, is a good geologist here, 
young and independent, just returned from a tour in Dal- 
matia. With him I have already mastered much of the 
geology of these parts. We have defied the snow in our 
excursions. I start to-morrow, and shall be in Paris in 
four days. 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chaelks Lyell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Paris : Febraary 19, 1829. 

My dear Sir, — Deshayes, now the strongest fossil concho- 
logist in Europe, has lost so seriously by his fine work on 
the shells of the Paris basin, that he is not only obliged to 
stop, so miserably is it encouraged, but bis circumstances 
are injured for a time by it. I have bought a copy (seventy 
francs), to help him, and as I find he has amassed in his re- 
searches for new things a multitude of fine duplicates, I 
trust through Prevost to negotiate a purchase for you. The 

1829. LECTURE BY PRtVOST. 247 

grand thing will be to get tlie names of perhaps 100 genera 
from such a man, who is acknowledged to be the Cuvier of 
tertiary shells, no mean acquirement now that they amount 
in his museum, including those living in the Mediterranean 
and the Channel, to above 3,000 species. His drawings of 
microscopic shells of the Paris basin are most curious. Such 
incredible forms of multilocular shells, and some so elegant. 
God knows whether the work will ever come to these. It 
is one-third finished. 

February 20. — Just heard a good lecture of Prevost's to 
a numerous class. It was on diluvium and caves, a good 
logical refutation of the diluvian humbug. The news of the 

day is that a Dr. has just read a memoir at the Institute 

on a new small tapir, and produced the head and jaws. It 
inhabits the mountains of Upper India, and they swear that 
the species is not distinguishable hardly from one of the 
Montmartre Paleotheriums. In return I announced Mary 
Anning's^ new Pterodactyle of Lyme. How grand your 
museum will look when, under every bone of which the 
ornithologists could make nothing, you write Pterodactylus 
Dorsetianus and Tilgetanus ! Prevost has a beautiful large 
machoire of an Anoplotherium, which he showed me im- 
bedded in gypsum, intended as a present for you, and if we 
succeed in getting the shells, it is to go with them. He 
observed, ' This will be better, for it will cut a mighty figure 
among the cockles ; but if it is thrown into Cuvier 's large 
caisse it will be drowned.' I have no fear of getting the 
shells, and if it answer expectations I shall be able to en- 
large the commission in future, should you incline to be 
sumptuous. In the meantime prepare to disburse 100 francs, 
which I shall pay Deshayes before I leave Paris, which I 
suppose will be in two days, for town. Young Brongniart 
protested at breakfast on Sunday at his father's, before a 
large party of savans, that you knew more of fossil plants 
than any man in England. I could have told him that a 
certain Mr. Stokes ' had recently accumulated a quantity of 

^ Miss Mary Anning, of Lyme Regis, wlio was zealons in excavating the 
fossils of that region. 

' Charles Stokes, h. 1783, d. 1853, a, respected member of the Stock Ex- 
change, full of vast research in the Natmral History Sciences, and remarkable 
for literary and antiquarian, musical and artistic, knowledge. 

2i8 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

fossil and recent woods, plants, &e., whicli with no small 
study, and that too aided by Brown,* had placed him in a 
situation to become the critic of Adolph B. himself, which 
moreover he will be, as I learn — but I kept this to myself, 
as it will be time enough when he leams it. 

Ever truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Paris ; February 23, 1829. 

My dear Marianne,— I was glad to find your letter here 
on my arrival seven days ago, after a fagging journey of four 
days and four nights from Geneva, having only had six hours' 
rest at Dijon. Sledges for forty miles over deep snow on the 
Jura, and ice the rest of the way, so we were continually 
summoned by the conductor to turn out of the warm inside, 
while the horses tried to pull the diligence up. Notwith- 
standing this, the company of a clever and lively French 
ofScer in the interior, and some good memoirs givea me at 
Geneva, rendered the journey not without some amusement. 
The difficulty of keeping warm was great enough. Here I 
found a better climate. The very evening of my arrival I 
caught Prevost just going to give a lecture, and met there 
other geologists, who took me next morning to a lecture at 
the Bcole des Mines, and thus I got thrown in a few hours 
into the heat of the battle, which is carried on with vigour, 
notwithstanding the complaints of the savans that the public 
will think of nothing but politics and romances, and their 
evident fear that we shall soon distance them in England in 
this branch. 

I have learnt very much from various old and new 
acquaintances, and although they have pumped me some- 
what unmercifully, I am sure I have reaped most from the 
exchange. Some of them have come by most opposite routes 
to exactly the same conclusions as myself, and we have 

' Eobert Brown, b. 177.S, d. 1858, President of the Linnsean Society, ac- 
companied Captain Flinders as naturalist in the ' Investigator ' round the shores 
of Australia in 1802, &c. An indefatigable and profound botanist. Named by 
Humboldt Botamdcmiim Princeps. He inherited Sir Joseph Banks's herbarium, 
which is now in the British Museum. 

1829. CUVIER'S STUDY. 249 

mutually felt confirmed in our views, although the new- 
opinions must bring about an amazing overthrow in the 
systems which we were carefully taught ten years ago. I 
have established a regular correspondence with Deshayes, 
now by fa.r the principal conchologist in fossils, and he is to 
name all my fossil shells from Sicily. I have also been getting 
the necessary works, and many are German. How glad I 
am to hear you are determined to persevere in it : do not be 
frightened by the barbarous aspect of it. I would give a 
hundred pounds if I knew it decently, indeed it would soon 
be worth that to any author who writes on natural history. 
I shall work at it hard before a year passes away. Cuvieris 
in great force, and gave a famous soiree the other day. He 
has been chosen by the ministers to defend their municipal law 
in the tribune : two months of his time will thus be lost to 
science. He talked to me of the Catholic question, our cor- 
poration rights, &c., and not a word could I get on natural 
history. Yet this year he has come out with four volumes 
on fish, and eight more will appear in two years. He has 
received between 2,000L and 2,200L for it, whereas no other 
person in Paris could persuade a librarian to publish one 
volume for nothing. He is also publishing another edition 
of his ' Uegne Animal,' and other things. He has been very 
obliging to me, for on my applying for casts of animals for 
Mantell, who has been begging in vain for a long time, he 
gave me an order for whatever I liked, so I have sent off from 
the museum a huge box with casts of every thing. I got into 
Cuvier's sanctum sanctorum yesterday, and it is truly cha- 
racteristic of the man. In every part it displays that extra- 
ordinary power of methodising which is the grand secret of 
the prodigious feats which he performs annually without 
appearing to give himself the least trouble. But before I 
introduce you to this study, I should tell you that there is 
first the museum of natural history opposite his house, and 
admirably arranged by himself, then the anatom.y miuseum 
connected with his dwelling. In the latter is a library dis- 
posed in a suite of rooms, each containing works on one 
subject. There is one where there are all the works on or- 
nithology, in another room all on ichthyology, in another 
osteology, in another law books ! &c. <Ssc. When he is 

250 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

engaged in such works as require continual reference to a 
variety of authors, he has a stove shifted into one of these 
rooms, in which everything on that subject is systematically 
arranged, so that in the same work he often takes the round 
of many apartments. But the ordinary studio contains no 
book-shelves. It is a longish room, comfortably furnished, 
lighted from above, and furnished with eleven desks to stand 
to, and two low tables, like a public office for so many clerks. 
But all is for the one man, who multiplies himself as author, 
and admitting no one into this room, moves as he finds 
necessary, or as fancy inclines him, from one occupation to 
another. Each desk is furnished with a complete establish- 
ment of inkstand, pens, &c., pins to pin MSS. together, the 
works immediately in reading and the MS. in hand, and on 
shelves behind all the MSS. of the same work. There is a 
separate bell to several desks. The low tables are to sit to 
when he is tired. The collaborateurs are not numerous, 
but always chosen well. They save him every mechanical 
labour, find references, &c., are rarely admitted to the study, 
receive orders, and speak not. 

Brongniart, who in imitation of Cuvier has many clerks 
and collaborateurs, is known to lose more time in organising 
this auxiliary force than he gains by their work, but this is 
never the case with Cuvier. When I went to get Mantell's 
casts, I found that the man who made moulds, and the 
•painter of them, had distinct apartments, so that there was 
no confusion, and the despatch with which all was executed 
was admirable. It cost Cuvier a word only. 

Murchison writes me word that Mary Anning has immortal- 
ised herself anew by finding at Lyme a skeleton of one of those 
flying lizards (pterodactyles), of which two only were known 
of distinct species, and none before in England. Buckland has 
written a paper, and there has been much merriment at the 
Society about the Dragon of Wantley having devoured all 
the birds, for they now declare that the Stonesfield soi-discmt 
birds' bones all belonged to this winged reptile. Murchison 
and his wife have been with Mrs. Somerville, spending a 
week at Christ Chui-ch, and he laments that Buckland voted 
for the anti-Catholic petition, which conduct, he says, Mrs. 
Buckland assured him was to be attributed to his Sicilian expe- 

1829. RETURN TO LONDON. 251 

dition, and he trusts my journey has not made me intolerant. 
Certainly, if any country oould make me abhor Catholicism 
in its worst form, it is that island, and you may have gathered 
this from my letters ; but I confess I think it no small want 
of logic to confound the emancipation question with the 
state of Spain and Sicily. Besides, if fanaticism were to be 
the measure of disability, I fancy that no small part of our 
sectarians and even more orthodox saints would be entitled 
to their share. I wish you were in the way of getting on in 
conchology : the extent and beauty of these objects is truly 
wonderful, and tlie results are becoming most important 
every day. It is the ordinary, or, as Champollion says, the 
demotic character in which Nature has been pleased to write 
all her most curious documents. We will try to get a more 
active exchange with Mrs. Backland of insects for shells. 
Murchison tells me that seventy more fossil insects have 
been sent off for us from Aix. 

With love to all, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

London : February 26, 1829. 

My dear Caroline, — I have not announced my arrival 
except to Murchison, and shall appear at the Royal So3iety 
this evening for the first time. I fi^nd the Geological Society 
and Sedgwick, the new President, Lave persuaded Murchison 
to become Home Secretary for a year, as they dubbed me 
Foreign Secretary, which I trust will give me very little 
trouble. Sedgwick quite astonished them, it seems, in the 
chair at the general meeting, which was very full. Among 
innumerable good hits, when proposing the toast of the 
Astronomical Society, and Herschel, their president, he said, 
alluding to H.'s intended marriage (for he is just about to 
marry the daughter of a Scotch clargyman), 'May the house 
of Herschel be perpetuated, and, like the Cassinis, be illus- 
trious astronomers for three generations. May all the con- 
stellations wait upon him ; may Virgo go before, and Gemini 
follow after.' Poor H., notwithstanding his confusion, got 
up after the roar of laughter had continued for three minutes. 


and made a famous speech. You say jou should like to have 
chased the Edusas in Sicily, as you have only two tattered 
ones. Pray explain, Mrs. Conservatrice del iluseo, what has 
become of the splendid specimens I sent last year, and let me 
have your Artaxerxes. 

Lieutenant Graves has sent a lettfci% saying that two 
boxes are in town for me from him, one all skins of birds 
from Straits of Magellan, and one geological. All the Au- 
vergne and French boxes necessary for the joint paper of Mur- 
chison and me are arrived safe. I have already made pro- 
gress in working up materials here, and in Paris I did much. 
Deshayes is positively to give me tables of more than 2,000 
species of tertiary shells, from which I will build up a system 
on data never before obtained, by comparing the contents of 
the present with more ancient seas, and thb latter with each 
other. He is to name all my Sicilian shells. 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Lyell. 

To Gideon MA^'TELL, Esq. 

April, 1820. 

Dear Mautell, — A splendid meeting last night. Sedg- 
wick in the chair. Conybeare's paper on "Valley of Thames, 
directed against Messrs. Lyell and Murchison's former paper, 
was read in part. Buckland present to defend the ' Dilu- 
vialists,' as Conybeare styles his sect, and us he terms 
' Fluvialists.' Greenough assisted us by making an ultra 
speech on the importance of modern causes. iNo river, he 
said, within times of history, has deepened its channel one 
foot ! It was great fun, for he said, ' Our opponents say — 
" Give us time, and we wiU work wonders." So said the wolf 
in the fable to tfe lamb : " Why do you disturb the water ? " 
" I do not ; you are further up the stream than I."" " But 
your father did." " He never was here." " Then your 
grandfather did, so I will murder you. Give me time, and I 
will murder you." So say the I'luvialists ! ' Roars of laughter, 
in which Greenough joined against himself. What a choice 
simile ! Murchison and I fought stoutly, and Buckland was 
very piano. Conybeare's memoir is not strong by any means. 

1829. LIVELY MEETING. 253 

He admits three deluges before tlie Noachian ! and Buckland 
adds God knows how many catastrophes besides, so we have 
driven them out of the Mosaic record fairly. 

Yours very truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

London ; June 7, 1829. 

My dear Mantell, — The last discharge of Conybeare's 
artillery, served by the great Oxford engineer against the 
riuvialists, as they are pleased to term us, drew upon thera 
on Friday a sharp volley of musketry from all sides, and such 
a broadside at the finale from Sedgwick, as was enough to 
sink the ' Eeliquise Dilnvianse ' for ever, and make the second 
volume shy of venturing out to sea. After the memoir on 
the impotence of all the rivers which feed the ' main river of 
an isle,' and the sluggishness of Father Thames himself, 
' scarce able to move a pin's head,' a notice by Cully, land- 
surveyor, was read on the prodigious force of a Cheviot 
stream, ' the College,' which has swept away a bridge, and 
annually buries large tracts under gravel. Buckland then 
jumped up, like a counsel, said Fitton to me, who had come 
down special. 

After his reiteration of Conybeare's arguments, Fitton 
made a somewhat laboured speech. I followed, and then 
Sedgwick, who decided on four or more deluges, and said 
the simultaneousness was disproved for ever, &c., and de- 
clared that on the nature of such floods we should at present 
' doubt, and not dogmatise.' A good meeting. 

I am to start for Scotland June 20, and shall be there two 

Ever truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To De. Fleming. 

Temple : June 10, 1829. 

My dear Sir, — I was glad to hear from you, and can assure 
you that I have been so busy since my return that I had 
no correspondence with any one except on business, though 

254 SIJ^ CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

I would gladly liave written to you at any time, if I had not 
been always hoping to have sent yoa a paper, we ihink a 
floorer, of Buckland's diluvial question. Tou will get a sepa- 
rate copy, and I wish it may be an antidote to a sharp attack 
which I hear Conybeare and Buckland have levelled at you, 
in the same number, about ' climate,' &c. Buckland was so 
amazingly annoyed at my having had such an anti-diluvialist 
paper read, that he got Conybeare to write a controversial 
essay on the Valley of the Thames, in which he drew a com- 
parison between the theory of the Fluvialists, as he terms us, 
and the Diluvialists, as (God be praised) they call themselves. 
Of course, in defining the Fluvialists, they (for Buckland 
wrote half the memoir) took care to build up their man of 
straw, and triumphantly knocked him down again. But in 
the animated discussion which followed the reading of the first 
half of the essay, at the Geological Society, we made no 
small impression on them. And when, last Friday, the 
remainder came on, we had a hot rencounter. Buckland came 
up on purpose again, and made a leading speech. But after 
we had exposed him, and even Greonough, his only staunch 
supporter, had given in in many points, Sedgwick, now pre- 
sident, closed the debate with a terribly anti-diluvialist 
declaration. For he has at last come round, and is as de- 
cided as you are. But you must know that Buckland now, 
and Conybeare, distinctly admit three universal deluges, and 
many catastrophes, as they call them, besides ! But more of 
this when we meet. 

I hope to be at Kinnordy the first week in June, and to 
see you then soon after. Tour discovery of the fish may 
probably confii-m the opinions given by Sedgwick and Mxu-- 
cliison on our district, as they compared the older sandstone 
of the Sidlaw to the Caithness sandstone containing fish. 
One reason why I did not write was, to tell the honest truth, 
that I have seen so much, and so greatly altered my views, 
that I know not where to begin, and nothing but a good 
three days' confab, tete-a-tete, will sufiice. I shall see, in my 
way up, much of the geology of the east of England, and 
perhaps, in my way down, of the west. 

I am preparing a general work on the younger epochs of 
the earth's history, which I hope to be out with next spring. 


I begin with Sicily, which has almost entirely risen from the 
sea, to the height of nearly 4,000 feet, since all the present 
animals existed in the Mediterranean ! 

Ever most sincerely yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To De. Fleming. 

Kinnordy : October 11, 1829. 

Dear Dr. Fleming, — When I showed yonr vegetable im- 
pressions to the quarrymen of Kirriemuir, many declared 
that a great number exactlj' similar were got this year from 
a quarry called Bron-head or Bren-head at Locheye, between 
Dundee and Auchterhouse, which is now working on the 
property, I believe, of Mr. Clay hills. I have written to 
Lindsay Carnegie of Kinblethmont, who of all our lairds 
promises fairest to be a keen geologist, to go to his neigh- 
bour Mr. Muir, and take instructions. In the meantime, 
Carnegie has written to me to say that he has offered pre- 
miums for fossils in his own pavement quarries. I shall leave 
with Blackadder, for a time, the specimens of scales and 
plants, to show about to the men. I am glad to find lately 
that pavement stone is worked successfully at Feme, on the 
Grampian side of the trough of Strathmore, between which 
and Arbroath the pavement and a powerful conglomerate 
are each thrice repeated ; each twice with a southerly', and 
once with a northerly, dip. I have just received a famous 
letter from Murchison. He and Sedgwick have worked very 
hard in the basin of the Danube, Hungary, Styria, &c. 
Sedgwick was astonished at finding what I had satisfied 
myself of everywhere, that in the more recent tertiary groups, 
great masses of rocks, like the different members of our se- 
condaries, are to be found. 

They call the grand formation in which they have been 
working, sub-Apennine. Vienna falls into it. I suspect it 
is a shade older, as the sub-Apennines are several shades 
older than the Sicilian tertiaries. They have discovered an 
immensely thick conglomerate, 600 feet compact marble- 
like limestone, a great thickness of oolite, not distinguish- 
able from Bath oolite, an upper red sand and conglomerate, 

256 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. x. 

&c. &c., all members of that group zoologically sub-Apen- 
nine. This is glorious news for me. They tell me to hold 
my tongue till our next session. It chimes in well with 
making old red transition mountain limestone and coal, and 
as much more as we can, one ejjoch, for when Nature sets 
about buildiug in one place, she makes a great batch there, 
and old Werner's universal envelope was, as my correspond- 
ent says of some of Brongniart's extension of the Parisian 
type, a humbug. All the freshwater, marine, and other 
groups of the Paris basin are one epoch, at the farthest not 
niore separated than upper and lower chalk. They have 
also found a great gypsum and salt formation in the Alps, 
over lias fossils, which charms me. 

Mrs. Murchison's letter contains the painful news that 
poor Conybeare has been thrown out of his gig, and received 
a dreadful concussion of the brain. When the accounts 
came away, he was delirious ; no hopes entertained of his 
life. A ride to-morrow with Blackadder, and an examination 
of the whole section of the Noran river, will be a finale to 
my outdoor geology for 1829. 

Very truly yours, 

Chaeles LyeTvL. 

To De. Fleming. 

9 Crown Office Row, Temple : October 31, 1829. 

Dear Dr. Fleming, — Conybeare, after being fourteen days 
insensible, not even recognising his wife, is recovering ; and 
there are hopes that he will get quite over it, but will be 
stopped from working for a time, of course. ' The father of 
stercoraceous chemistry,' as Buekland called himself in a 
letter, has strengthened his theory, but had to retract also 
on one or two points. 

Sedgwick and Murchison are just returned, the former 
full of magnificent views. Throws overboard all the diluvian 
hypothesis ; is vexed he ever lost time about such a complete 
humbug ; says he lost two years by having also started a 
Wernerian. He says primary rocks are not primary, but, as 
Hutton supposed, some igneous, some altered secondary. 
Mica schist in Alps lies over organic remains. No rock in 


the Alps older than lias I Much of Buckland's dashing 
paper on Alps wrong. A formation (marine) found at foot 
of Alps, between Danube and Rhine, thicker than all the 
English secondaries united. Munich is in it. Its age 
probably between chalk and our oldest tertiaries. I have 
this moment received a note from C. Provost bj Murchison. 
He has heard with delight and surprise of their Alpine 
novelties, and alluding to them and other recent discoveries, 
he says, ' Comme nous allons rire de nos vieilles idees ! 
Comma nous allons nous moquer de nous-memes ! ' At the 
same time he says, ' If in your book you are too hard on us 
on this side the Channel, we will throw at you some of old 
Brongniart's " metric and peponary blocks," which float in 
that general and universal diluvium, and have been there 
depuis le grand jour qui a separe, d'une maniere si tranchee, 
les temps ante-des-temps Post-Diluviens.' 

In some sandstone sent from Glammis I find some white 
stains with a bluish tinge, having clearly some analogy to 
your fish scales, but much decomposed. 

Eemember me to Dr. Fleming, and believe me very truly 

Charles Ltell. 

To Leonakd Hoenee, Esq. 

November 24, 1829. 

My dear Sir, — My friend G. Eyre, a barrister who is 
attending law lectures at the London University, happened 
to say this morning, that when Lardner spoke of the vacant 
Chair of Mineralogy and Geology in his introductory lecture, 
a brother student had mentioned to him that there had been 
a report of mt/ being thought of for it. I ought therefore to 
tell you that I have always felt it, and do now, to be out of 
the question ; and if the council wish to fill it up, you must 
consider me quite out of the way, both in justice to the 
Institution and other candidates. 

I have received this morning a letter from young Allen, 
full of mineralogical zeal for an Icelandic tour. I find that 
we must go the latter end of April, in which case I should 

VOL. I. s 

258 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, x. 

only be able to get out Vol. I., which I believe I shall do, 
for I should like to make sure of Hecla. 

I have not waited till we meet, because T did not feel 
comfortable under the idea that I had let you go away the 
other day with a notion that I only wanted to be pressed a 
little. I should like for your sake, and for the science, to 
see a good man in, but it ought, I believe, to be a man of 
fortune, who did not hope to pay his travelling expenses by 
what he made. In the meantime I am quite sure, whoever 
may be the candidates, that you do good by deferring an 
election, because every lecturer who has not a good class 
rather does harm to the Institution, and one cannot expect 
it in geology yet. 

Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Temple: Saturday, December 5, 1829. 

Dear Mantell, — We were all disappointed at your not 
being here yesterday, for Murchison told us you were to 
have been here. Sedgwick and his wind-up on the Alps 
went off splendidly in a full meeting. Tou and the igua- 
nodon treated by Buckland with due honours, when exhibit- 
ing some great bones of a little toe from Purbeck. He greatly 
amazed my friend Sir T. Phillips by his humour about the 
size of the said giant, compared to the small genteel lizards 
of our days. 

I am bound hand and foot. In the press on Monday next 
with my work, which Murray is going to publish — 2 vols. 
The title — ' Principles of Geology ; being an Attempt to Ex- 
plain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface by Eeference 
to Causes now in Operation.' The first volume will be quite 
finished by the end of the month. The second is in a man- 
ner written, but will require great recasting. I start for 
Iceland by the end of April, so time is precious. Tou must 
let us see you here. What particular scheme have you at 
present in geology ? Tour list of shells will be grand things. 

Yery truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 





[The first volume of ' The Principles of Geology ' was published in 
1830, and after having relinquished sundry plans of going to Iceland, 
the Crimea, and Black Sea, &c., he finally settled on accompanying 
Captain Cooke, R.N., in the summer of this year, to explore the geo- 
logy of the south of France and the Pyrenees, and from thence he 
went alone to Catalonia, to examine the volcanic region round 


To De. Eleming. 

Temple : February 3, 1830. 

Dear Dr. Fleming, — My eyes have been at times some- 
what weakened by the small print of my notes, and this 
prevents my being so good a correspondent as I would other- 
wise most willingly be ; but I am in great spirits to find that 
by help of a good amanuensis my eyes hold out so well, as 
they have certainly gained strength for many years, and 
were never so equal to the work since I first went to school, 
as now. 

The answer to Conybeare is severe enough, and both in- 
structive and amusing ; and to those who, like true English- 
men, love to see a good fight, it has afforded more sport 
than any round fought for many a year. Mantell, whom I 
visited at Christmas, was mightily delighted with it, but 
thought you might have spared Cuvier, who, by-the-bye, had 

s 2 

260 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

lately sent liim a magnificent present of fossil casts. Dau- 
beny, who has just come up from Oxford, told me that the 
Oxonians made just the same remark, congratulating Buck- 
land that Monsieur le Baron had been put on the pillory 
with him, and had come off with perhaps the greatest ex- 
pressions of contempt. I will fairly own that this struck 
me on first reading, and I was the more surprised when I 
found that you. meant to call him as your principal witness 
in your cause. As he and Lamarck have their worshippers, 
as well as Conybeare, it would be good policy to be more 
courteous towards them, untU they provoke you as he did. 

I sincerely hope you will keep in well with some party, 
but if you go on much longer, with an anti-Bucklandite, 
anti-Mackayite, anti-Lamarckian warfare, I begin to fear the 
odds ; and as Sedgwick prophesies that the Professor's book 
will never lose the title of ' idola specus,' so I dread your re- 
taining a name which I heard applied to you yesterday by a 
zoologist, ' the Zoological Ishmael.' The ' idola specus ' is 
allowed to be as clever a hit as ever was given, and the 
Cambridge Professor stood up manfuUy for you, when others 
were saying you were too savage, by saying that a man had 
a right to say hard things in a controversy. But your 
indiscriminate attacks are what I allude to as alone inju- 
rious. To show that you can strike home may save you from 
many an adversary, but I am sure many new ones will now 
be called forth. 

As a staunch advocate for absolute uniformity in the 
order of Nature, I have tried in all my travels to persuade 
myself that the evidence was inconclusive, but in vain. I 
am more confirmed than ever, and shall labour to account 
for vicissitudes of climate, not to dispute them. I have only 
corrected the press to page 80, and get on slowly, but with 
satisfaction to myself. How much more difficult it is to 
write for general readers than for the scientific world, yet 
half our savans think that to write popularly would be a 
condescension to which they might bend if they would. 

I daresay I shall not keep my resolution, but I will try 
to do it firmly, that when my book is attacked — as it will be 
a greater hornets' nest than a small sally of yours in Jamie- 
son can be, however pointedly against popular doctrines — I 


will not go to the expense of time in pamplileteering. I 
shall work steadily on at Vol. II., and afterwards, if the work 
succeeds, at edition 2, and I have sworn to myself that I will 
not go to the expense of giving time to combat in contro- 
versy. It is interminable work. However, in your case, 
Conybeare, although now recovered, is not preparing, and 
Buckland, who likes to fight under the shield of Ajax, will 
not, I suspect, step forth himself. If any smaller people 
make a noise, you can leave them to do their worst. Buck- 
land is working so hard at organic remains — iguanodons, 
pterodactyles, and fifty other things — that he may build up a 
second report in the time he might have spent in fighting 
you about the old question. To our amusement, at our club 
last week, when a stranger whom I took there, asked Buck- 
land who Dr. Meming was (some one had mentioned you), 
Buckland said, ' Oh ! he's a man who ought to have been in 
Jamieson's chair, or some other in Scotland, &c. &c. ; and 
among other things, you will see in Jamieson's last that he 
has thrown me into the gutter, as he says ! ' I cannot help 
boring you with all this, because I dread half next year 
being spent in answering the wasps who are preparing 
their stings, and you can well afford to let them all alone. 
Sedgwick has his paper on magnesian limestone ready for 
you. If not sent, I will get it from him. I will look out 
some organic remains of freshwater, when I have a minute 
to spare. You talk of not being prolific, but here they 
think you quite the contrary. If you would not divert your 
forces from the main point, you will carry it with profit and 
reputation with one half the labour which these infernal 
squabbles will involve you in. So ends my epistle. Qualis 
ah, &c. 

Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Chaklbs Lybll. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

Temple : February 15, 1830. 

Dear Mantell. — I have scarcely used a sheet of my pre- 
pared materials since I saw you, and am now engaged in 
finishing my grand new theory of climate, for which I had 

262 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

to consult northern travellers, Eichardson, Sabine, and others, 
to read up Humboldt's and Daniel's last theories of meteoro- 
logy, &c. &c. I will not teU you how, till the book is out — 
but without help from a comet, or any astronomical change, 
or any cooling down of the original red-hot nucleus, or any 
change of inclination of axis or central heat, or volcanic hot 
vapours and waters and other nostrums, but all easily and 
naturally. I will give you a receipt for growing tree ferns 
at the pole, or if it suits me, pines at the equator ; walruses 
under the line, and crocodiles in the arctic circle. And now, 
as I shall say no more, I am sure you will keep the secret. 
All these changes are to happen in future again, and iguano- 
dons and their congeners must as assuredly live again in the 
latitude of Cuckfield as they have done so. 

You have always some new discovery to announce. I 
believe with you it would be diflBcult to exterminate penta- 
crinites, yet don't make too sure ; for if my new heating and 
refrigerating theory holds water, I may perhaps give you a 
cold at the line which may freeze up the pentacrinite. I 
have been i-eading at the Admiralty the last despatches of 
Captain Forster from S. Shetland. They mention fathom- 
ing the sea at the borders of the antarctic circle to the depth 
of 900 fathoms, with a self-registering thermometer. What 
a glorious depth. Ben Nevis would not make an islet if 
sunk there, and they found the warmth increase from the 
surface downwards, as you know in the Spitzbergen seas. 
Our new hydrographer, Beaufort, is very liberal to all geolo- 
gists, and you may get what unpublished information you 
like from the Admiralty, and there is an immense deal 
there. Yours very truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Temple : February 26, 1830. 

My dear Eleanor, — I expect p. 128 home from the printer 
to-night. Every word of advance since you were here has been 
written, and the matter in great measure collected ; so I hope 
next month, when I fall upon old stores written at Kinnordy, 
&c., that I shall make great way. I enjoy the work much, 
as the excitement is great, and I can get sxich assistance as 

1830. ATHEN^UM CLUB. 263 

perhaps no place but London could afford. I wish you had 
been in town at the opening of our new club, the Athenaeum, 
which is reckoned the most elegant turn-out of all, and for 
a fortnight gay soirees were given to the ladies between 
nine and twelve o'clock, and it still continues to do so every 
Wednesday, which I hear is to go on for months. It is really 
worth seeing, and fitted up in a style which I must say would 
be ridiculous, except for receiving ladies. There has been a 
great deal of fun about it, verses innumerable. Some of our 
members grumble at the invasion, and retreated into the 
library, which was respected at first, but now the women fill 
it every Wednesday evening, as well as the newspaper room, 
and seem to me to examine every corner with something of 
the curiosity with which we should like to pry into a harem. 
They all say it is too good for bachelors, and makes married 
men keep away from home, and talk of a ladies' club, &c. 
As the house was much admired, the number of candidates 
increased prodigiously. The ballot, which in a smaller house 
was a nuisance, is now an agreeable muster. 

Milman has got into a worse scrape than I suspected by 
the German latitudinarianism (by way of a laconic term) 
which he has indulged in in his ' History of the Jews.' 
Murchison says it is a diversion in my favour, but I trust 
mine will be thought quite orthodox. At all events the 
bishops cannot stop my promotion, as they certainly will 
Milman's. His own parishioners have taken it up, and the 
once popular preacher is in danger of Laving his gown torn 
off. He has challenged the bishops to find owe opinion in 
his work not in the notes to Mant's Bible, and Lockhart 
tells me this is true ; but the bishops, never having read their 
own edition of the Bible, are still more annoyed at this dis- 
covery. The crime is to have put it forth in a ^popular book. 
Yours ever affectionately, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To Dr. Fleming. 

London ; April 18, 1830. 

Dear Dr. Fleming, — Sedgwick, when I asked him if he 
should send his lashing of Ure in his anniversary speech, to 

264 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

you — said of course there is one for him, for Dr. P. is one of 
those men who feel not only a love for truth, but an honest 
indignation against all those who conceal it or tamper with 
it, or are guilty of any dissimulation. I will add to these, 
that Mantell is a great admirer on the whole of your last 
paper, and I give you this to let you see both sides, for I did 
not in the least exaggerate the storm on the other side. 
You are one of six or seven writers in this country who com- 
bine profound scientific knowledge with a power of present- 
ing it in a popular, powerful, and eloquent style to the 
public ; and if by any circumstances your facility of doing 
good to the cause is injured by a series of personal alterca- 
tions, with which I certainly think you have been in a great 
measure drawn, it is a national loss. Conybeare is giving 
divinity lectures at Bristol. Buckland, I trust, is going to 
repose for years under your last fire, as he did under a former 

The ' dirt bed ' which separates Portland from Purbeck 
rock is now proved to be a peat moss and forest, which grew 
on an exposed surface of Portland marine oolite. The cy- 
cades are all upright, with their roots in situ, the tall stems 
broken and horizontal. The case is more clearly demon- 
strated than in any submarine forest. What a subsidence 
afterwards to let the green sand and chalk accumulate above ! 
Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

London : April 23, 1830. 

Dear Mantell, — It is nearly the same to pursue a hobby 
as I am doing, and to be professionally engaged, and so you 
must excuse bad correspondence ; but I assure you I am a 
mile or two further on by aid of the encouragement held out 
in your letters, that the production will excite a sensation, 
which Murray says is the great virtue of a superior author. 
So much for the market value of commodities. By the way, 
Sir Philip Egerton said at E. S. last night, that you were 
the author of the grand catalogue of fossils in the ' Trans- 
actions,' which, knowing your other works, he selected as an 


extraordinary proof of your being hien fort. He brought 
parts of thirty-one individuals of TJrsus speleus from German 
caves, and a great jaw of Felis spelea, pronounced by Clift & 
Co. to be equal in size to a horse ! Buckland first pronounced 
your bone to be that of a deer, and stood out for a long time 
against its being that of Goliah. He declared the bone to be 
post-diluvian and not mineralised, and made light of it, but 
did not scratch it. He is gone down to Lyme, so there is 
something in the wind — a paper on the new beast perhaps, 
that fish-like concern which Mary Anning wants to make a 
grand wonder of, and the Dr. a memoir, as I suppose. His 
and De la Beche's on Weymouth read last time — good, but 
some diluvial heresy tacked on, at which I fired a shot. The 
iguanodon's bones brought by them from Isle of Wight are 
rolled, ugly, unmeaning pebbles, save one ' sub- quadrangular 
vertebra,' as Dr. Buckland says, which he declares proves 
it to be an iguanodon. Even that is imperfect. 

Most truly yours, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To SiE Philip de Malpas Geet Egeeton. 

9 Crown Office Row, Temple, London : April 26, 1830. 

Dear Sir Philip Egerton, — In conversations with Dr. Lee, 
whom I introduced to you at the Eoyal Society, I have learnt 
the extreme practicability of a geological expedition which 
I feel extremely tempted to undertake this summer ; and 
although my short acquaintance with you would not authorise 
me to propose that you should take part in it, yet I am sure 
you will excuse my doing so on the score of being equally 
attached to geological pursuits. 

The tour which Lee made when physician to Count Wor- 
onzofiF, was from the Sea of Azof, through the Crimea, along 
the great steppe to the mouths of the Danube, a district full 
of grand physical features never yet made out, nor visited by 
a geologist since Pallas. The country is perfectly safe, and 
vrith such introductions as we could immediately get, no 
impediment would be encountered. 

The time required not long, and the summer the proper 
season. The route would be by steam to Hamburg, and then 

266 SIR CHARLES LYEL-L. chap. xi. 

from Liibeck by steamboat which communicates to Peters- 
burg, where we arrive on the eighth day from London. A 
day or two would be ample at P., and the diligence is only 
four days from Petersburg to Moscow, where a splendid city, 
and the examination of the tertiary strata there, would refresh 
the traveller, and prepare him in a carriage, bought at 
Moscow, to make direct to Azof, or some place at the north 
of the Don, where we should be without difficulty on the iield 
of action in a month from our starting from London. Give 
seven or eight weeks to the Crimea, and the great steppe, 
which latter might be done quick, boxes of shells being 
shipped easily at Odessa. From Odessa to Vienna, where 
the carriage is sold at no loss, and from Vienna in eleven 
days to London, having been absent about four months if 
you were pressed for time. I will not enter into the numerous 
geological reasons for selecting that country before any 
other — the light which the steppe when understood would 
throw on all the steppes of the Caspian, &c. ; the study of 
the effects of recent earthquakes in Bessarabia, the alluvions 
of the Don, Dnieper, and Danube, and the Crimea, which is 
full of various interest, Murchison, who (as I know by ex- 
perience) is a good campaigner, declares the scheme excel- 
lent, but fears your engagements will prevent you from 
stirring. I should probably start about June 10, but if you 
are disposed to join, I would wait, if by exertion you could 
get over your business and go somewhat later. I need not 
say that to participate in the first making out of an unknown 
district is the only way to learn to unravel countries for 
oneself, and that the new facilities now opened have rendered 
a district accessible in a few weeks which seemed but lately 
as far removed as the interior of Asia. A courier who can 
be trusted is easily got at Petersburg. I should make the 
expedition as strictly geological as our friend Murchison 
does his, and it is from my confidence that your enthusiasm 
would equally dispose you to do so, and would carry you 
through the slight iucouveniences, which would after all be 
of short duration on the tour, which induces me to make 
this proposition. I shall probably go alone, if you should 
decline, and I do not wish it to be known, for when I 
intended to go to Iceland this spring (before I engaged to 


supply Murray witli a volume on geology), I had two offers 
of companions, excellent men, but one a mere mineralogist, 
and the other a sportsman, who would have greatly interfered, 
and whom I should still, as old friends, have offended by 
declining. I would enter into many more particulars about this 
scheme, if I did not feel that it would be going too far before 
I am aware whether there was any insuperable obstacle to 
stimulating you to such an enterprise. In regard to health, 
I have made due inquiries, and you may trust me, an old 
campaigner, that I should not think of it rashly. It is one 
of those things that is not open to me every day, and would 
probably lead to some new and grand views. 

Believe me, most truly yours, 

Charles Lyell. 

I0 His Sister. 

Temple : May 11, 1830. 

My dear Eleanor,~^I have been intending for a month to 
write and say you were a good-for-nothing gipsy for not 
sending me a letter till I wrote one myself, as it takes no time 
to read a letter, though I am really almost too busy to write 
one. Have you heard from Tom ? His things arrived here 
to-day, by sea from Devonport. 

Murray of Simprim asked me to take him to the Geolo- 
gical Club. As luck would have it, he sat next Buckland, 
with whom he was much delighted, as with a most entertain- 
ing lecture delivered by him afterwards, at a full meeting of 
the Geological Society, on Bones of the Mastodon brought by 
Basil Hall from N. America, and by Beechey & Co. of Extinct 
Elephants from Behring's Straits. Also on my Angus Kel- 
pie's feet, which were so much admired, that when I offered 
the Professor one, he would not accept, saying he should rob 
the Geological Society, for each diffei'ed from the other in 

Sir George Rose is in great force, and longs to see my 
book. Pray heaven he may not think me, as he tells me nine- 
tenths of the German clergy are, ' sold to the devil.' But I 
assure you I have been so cautious, that two friends tell me 
I shall only offend the ultras. After divers schemes, Iceland, 
Pyrenees, West Indies, the Crimea, Black Sea, &c., I have 


definitely settled, positively for the last time, for the Pyrenees. 
I find I shaU be just relieved at the nick of time for them, 
can get there in eight days, and Captain Cooke, R.N., who is 
just returned, volunteers to go with me, and be a Spanish 
guide. Country cheap, no danger, bad fare, bad beds, &c., but 
that I can stand ; but don't like West Indian fevers, Crimean 
agues, nor Portuguese robbers, and worse adventures. 

Murchison gave me a seat in Lord Darlington's box to 
see Miss Kemble's Isabella. Did not think it half equal to 
her Juliet. I hope to have done with my volume by middle 
of June, and whether it is out then or in October, I begin to 
feel somewhat indifferent now. 

I hope to get my tour over so as to be with you for a time 
at Kinnordy, but I cannot answer quite for so much. 
Believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 


9 Crown Office Row, Temple : June 14, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — You ought to have received more 
sheets long ere this : we hope to be out in ten days. As I had 
nothing to do with your being my reviewer, I am certainly 
right glad of it ; and not the less so, that having withdrawn 
from the fight some time, you may be a more disinterested 
umpire than many others who, like you, have committed 
themselves in print to many opinions. I am sure you may 
get into Q. E. what will free the science from Moses, for if 
treated seriously, the party are quite prepared for it. A 
bishop, Buckland ascertained (we suppose Sumner), gave Ure 
a dressing in the ' British Critic and Theological Keview.' 
They see at last the mischief and scandal brought on them by 
Mosaic systems. Ferussac has done nothing but believe in the 
universal ocean up to the chalk period till lately. Prevost 
has done a little, but is a diluvialist, a rare thing in France. 
If any one has done much iu that way, I have not been able 
to procure their books. Von HofF has assisted me most, and 
you should compliment him for the German plodding per- 
severance with which he filled two volumes with facts like 

' Who was about to review the Pnnciples of Oeology. 


tables of statistics ; but he helped me not to my scientific 
views of causes, nor to my arrangement. The division into 
aqueous and igneous cause is mine, no great matter, and 
obvious enough. Von Hoff goes on always geographically. For 
example, he will take as a chapter ' changes in the boundaries 
of sea and land,' and under this may come alterations by 
earthquakes as well as by currents, &c. Von Hoff took his 
' waste of sea-cliffs,' as far as Britain is concerned, from 
Stevenson — very meagre. I have done mine from actual 
observation, principally in coast surveys. My division into 
destroying and reproductive effects of rivers, tides, currents, 
&c., is, as far as I know, new — my theory of estuaries being 
formed is contrary to Bakewell and many others, who think 
England is growing bigger. In regard to Deltas, many facts 
are from Von Hoff, but the greater part, not. All the theory 
of the arrangement of strata in Deltas and stratification, &c., 
is new, as far as I know, and the importance of spring 
deposits. Von Hoff thinks all that is now going on, a mere 
trifle comparatively, though he has done more than any 
other to disprove it. My views regarding gneiss, mica 
schist, &c., could not come in Vol. I. Sedgwick found in 
the centre of Eastern Alps an enorinital limestone alternat- 
ing with genuine mica schist and the wliite stone of Werner. 
This made a sensation here at G. S. this session. It was 
before known to E. de Beaumont. Think of this fact. Whether 
so made originally or not, it is clear that mica slate owes its 
stratification to deposition, because the limestone did. Ergo 
after a cool sea existed, with zoophytes enjoying the light of 
heaven, and feeding on some animalcules which lived as 
now — these rocks were formed no matter how. Gray wacke in 
its most ancient mineralogical form is proved to be posterior 
to vertehrated animals at Glaris, and to fuci and some coal 
plants lately in Ireland. In controverting, just allude to 
' having heard something of the Alpine discovery,' because 
Sedgwick was most unwilling last year to admit such a 
thing ; also hint that my reasons are yet to come, as I say 
in several passages. 

Probably there was a beginning — it is a metaphysical 
question, worthy a theologian — probably there will be an end. 
Species, as you say, have begun and ended — but the 

270 5/;? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xt. 

analogy is faint and distant. Perhaps it is an analogy, but 
all I say is, there are^ as Hutton said, ' no signs of a begin- 
ning, no prospect of an end.' Herschel thought the nebulae 
became worlds. Davy said in his last book, ' It is always 
more probable that the new stars become visible and then 
invisible, and pre-existed, than that they are created and 
extinguished. So I think. All I ask is, that at any given 
period of the past, don't stop inquiry when puzzled by 
refuge to a ' beginning,' which is all one with ' another state 
of nature,' as it appears to me. But there is no harm in 
your attacking me, provided you point out that it is the 
proof I deny, not the probability of a beginning. Mark, too, 
my argument, that we are called upon to say in each case, 
' Which is now most probable, my ignorance of all possible 
effects of existing causes,' or that ' the beginning ' is the 
cause of this puzzling phenomenon? 

It is not the beginning I look for, but proofs of a pro- 
gressive, state of existence in the globe, the probability of 
which is proved by the analogy of changes in organic life. 
'Tis an easy come-off to refer gneiss to ' the beginning, chaos,' 
&c., and put back the finding an encrinite for half a century. 
That all my theory of temperature will hold, I am not so 
sanguine as to dream. It is nevj, bran new. Give Humboldt 
due credit for his beautiful essay on isothermal lines : the 
geological application of it is mine, and the coincidence of 
time 'twixt geographical and zoological changes is mine, 
right or wrong. Sedgwick and Murchison have found an 
intermedial formation in Eastern Alps 'twixt chalk and 
oldest tertiary, helping to break down that barrier, to fill 
that lacune. Until Rennel's posthumous work on currents is 
out, I could not have a good copper-plate of their course. 
Thanks for the hint, which shall not be lost, if your review 
helps me in spite of the saints to a second edition, and in spite 
of 1,500 copies, a number I regret but could not avoid. My 
labour has been greater than you would suppose, as I have 
really had so little guidance. Your little valley paper was one 
of my best helps. I mean as guide in classification of facts. 
I was afraid to point the moral, as much as you can do in 
Q. R., about Moses. Perhaps I should have been tenderer 
about the Koran. Don't meddle much with that, if at aU. 

1830. LETTER TO SCROPE. 271 

If we don't irritate, which I fear that we may (though 
mere history), we shall carry all with las. If you don't 
triumph over them, but compliment the liberality and 
candour of the present age, the bishops and enlightened 
saints will join us in despising both the ancient and modern 
physico-theologians. It is just the time to strike, so rejoice 
that, sinner as you are, the Q. E. is open to you. If I have 
said more than some will like, yet I give you my word that 
full half of my history and comments was cut out, and even 
many facts ; because either I, or Stokes, or Broderip, felt that 
it was anticipating twenty or thirty years of the march of 
honest feeling to declare it undisguisedly. Nor did I dare 
come down to modern offenders. They themselves will be 
ashamed of seeing how they will look by-and-by in the page 
of history, if they ever get into it, which I doubt. You see 
that what between Steno, Hooke, Woodward, De Luc, and 
others, the modern deluge systems are all borrowed. Point 
out to the general reader that my floods, earthquakes, &c., 
are all very modern, also waste of cliflfs ; and that I request 
that people will multiply, by whatever time they think man 
has been on the earth, the sum of this modern observed 
change, and not form an opinion from what history has re- 
corded. Fifty years from this, they will furnish facts for a 
better volume than mine. The changes in organic life, which 
I intend to be more generally entertaining than the inorganic, 
and more new, must be deferred to Vol. II. I wiU attend 
to your other requests immediately. 

Very truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

P.S. — I have been very careful in my work in referring, 
where I have borrowed, to authors, and am not conscious of 
having ever done so without citing in a note. I doubt whether 
I have embodied sentences from any author so much as from 
you, and you will see that that is in great moderation. 

I conceived the idea five or six years ago, that if ever the 
Mosaic geology could be set down without giving offence, it 
would be in an historical sketch, and you must abstract mine, 
in order to have as little to say as possible yourself. Let 
them feel it, and point the moral. 



London : June 20, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — I go on Tuesday morning to Havre, 
for the Pyrenees. I trust you will agree with me in what I 
have said in the winding up of the chapter on the Calahrian 
earthquake of 1783 as to excavation of valleys. I have never 
seen this subject touched on in all the theories of valleys — 
compare my allusion to the land-slips in the Batavia shock 
in 1699. Forests floating on the sea in Jamaica speaks also 
volumes as to effect on valleys. Whewell tells me he has 
just been at Oxford, and with a cavalcade of forty horsemen 
went out for Buckland's field lecture. He held forth more 
than ever about the impotence of modern causes. Had he 
and Conybeare been engaged to review me, they might posi- 
tively have done some harm in retarding the good cause, 
and much more in stopping the sale of a certain number of 

In the volcanic causes, the only material thing for which 
I am indebted to Von Hoff is the tracing out the volcanic 
regions more fully than is found in other books. As to the 
philosophy or geology of volcanoes, he gives nothing that I 
have thought worth borrowing, and he attempts but little. 
Daubeny had seen it, but profited less than he should have 
done by it. 

Whether my concluding theory of excess of subsidence 
will do, is more than I can predict. Like many others, it is 
my own, and thought out after turning the subject over in 
every way. I have not had tiine to study Elie de Beaumont's 
dashing theory of Epochs of Elevation, but have seen enough 
to be sure that much of it will not stand. The review of his 
notions will come properly in my next volume, for it is by 
fossil zoology alone that all dates of the relative upheaving 
of mountain chains must be decided, or guessed at. It is 
preposterous to say that the Alleghanies were raised when 
a certain European chain was, because they are parallel. 
He runs riot in these extravagant generalisations, just as he 
compared the Dauphiny Alps to the mountains in the moon, 
in sober earnest. E. de B. does not, as far as I can see. 

1830. ELIE DE BEAUMONT. 273 

entertain any suspicion that before laying down as an axiom 
that ' parallelism of axis of elevation indicates contemporary 
elevation,' some respect should be had to what may now be 
going on ; or if we know too little as yet, at least let us wait. 
I expect to come into collision with his doctrines, for he 
seems to me to be embarked just as Von Buch was, in his 
' Elevation Crater ' system, on the plan of speculating on an- 
cient times without earing about modern causes. Think of 
his saying that tlie Deluge may have been caused by the 
sudden rise of S. America ! I respect him as one of the best 
of the young Frenchmen. He has done much good, but 
three-fourths of his theory won't stand five years. I am 
more anxious than I can tell you that you should hit it off 
well for Q. R. Of such an article as many reviews would 
jump at, there is no fear ; but if Murray has to push my vols., 
and you wield the geology of the Q. R., we shall be able in a 
short time to work an entire change in public opinion. 

Ever very truly yours, 

Chables Ltell. 


Havre, France : June 25, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — Not being able to cross over to Hon- 
fleur to-day, because of tide not serving, I have seen all the 
geology which the cliffs afford. Chalk capping, under which 
Upper Green Sand just as in the back of the Isle of Wight, 
and blue marl at bottom raised in same manner by under- 
mining — tide rising 22 feet, and sweeping away land 500 feet 
high. Having done this, I took up Elie de Beaumont's new 
work, published in ' Ann. des Sciences.' Now I am somewhat 
glad to find how much my views differ from his. In his 
memoir entitled ' Recherches sur quelques-unes des Revolu- 
tions de la surface du Globe,' &c., he begins by saying, that 
whatever be the causes which have raised mountain chains 
and put the beds composing them into their present position, 
it must have been ' un evenement d'un ordre different de 
ceux dont nous sommes journellement les temoins.' In my 
comments on the Huttonian theory, I throw out that there 
have been, in regard to separate countries, alternate periods 

VOL. I. T 

274 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

of disturbance and repose, yet earthquakes maj' have been 
always uniform, and I show or hint how the interval of time 
done, may make the passage appear abrupt, violent, con- 
clusive, and revolutionary. Now E. de Beaumont's reign- 
ing notion evidently is, that because 'le redressement des 
couches s'arrete brusquemeut a tel ou tel terme de la 
seriedes couches de sediment (in different chains), et affecte 
avec une egale intensite toutes les couches precedentes, le 
phenomene de redressement n'a pas ete continu et pro- 
gressif, mais brusque, et de pen de duree,' &c. Now it is un- 
doubtedly brusque as far as the solution of continents, but 
why therefore the ' convulsion ' of short duration ? I do not 
find anywhere in him the notion of restoring in imagination 
the geographical features of Europe of N. Hemisphere by 
causing the land to sink, which has been since upraised — as to 
change of climate he has nothing to do with it. I told you 
before, that I have, as far as I, and others whom I have con- 
sulted know, to answer for all the sins committed in that 
new theory. Before I dared hazard it, I went to Stokes, 
Avho has often condemned my follies to the flames, but he 
said ' he was sure there was much in it, and might be as 
much as I thought. At all events, it would do much good to 
try it, and would set others to work.' E. de B. gets hold of 
three or four chains, proves that one has been elevated since 
the Jura limestone, another parallel since the chalk, and then 
infers that they were upraised nearly about the same time, 
and, as they are parallel, he thinks it very pro6a6?e that these 
accidents of the surface, which have a community of direc- 
tion, ' ont ete formes pour ainsi dire du meme coup, et sont 
les traces d'une seule et meme commotion.' 'Ann. des Sciences 
Nat.' tome 18. Whatever may be said of my theories, 
there are sweeping conclusions in E. de Beaumont, for which 
I would not be answerable for a good deal. At the same 
time his work is in many parts, as far as I can judge without 
being able to test the facts, of great merit. It is difficult to 
follow him, and for so new a subject he has been I think un- 
pardonably concise, and therefore obscure in laying down his 
views. I do not half comprehend what he would be at, yet I 
have talked much with him on geology in general. My con- 
fidence is shaken by knowing that he is an unflinching 

1830. D'AUBUISSON. 27 B 

follower of Von Buch's, in theory of ' Elevation Craters.' I 
mean to make almost straight to Olot in Catalonia, but my 
companion, Captain Cooke, must go and see the Druidical 
monument at Carnac in Normandy. This out-of-the-way 
line will cost some extra days, but you shall hear in five or 
six weeks of the volcanic region. I shall be surprised if Olot 
was destroyed by lava, or an eruption — probably an earth- 
quake, but if lava, so much the better. I will see what the 
river has done in three centuries. 

With remembrances to Mrs. Scrope, 

Believe me ever truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Toulouse : July 9, 1 830. 

My dear Marianne, — I arrived here yesterday after hav- 
ing traversed from B'onfleur to Bordeaux, a great part of 
Normandy, Brittany, and La Vendee, on the most detestable 
roads, and through some of the finest countries I ever saw. 
It is common to see waggons with nine horses unable to 
move the machine out of deep ruts. In the diligence twenty 
persons had to turn out several times in the mud, during 
heavy storms, to let the carriage be dragged out. My com- 
panion. Captain Cooke, took me this round-about, to see the 
great Druidical monument of Carnac, near Quiberon Bay, 
which is a fine thing, though we have paid dearly for it in 
time, &c. However, I learnt of course something of the 
geology of the countries we went through. Cooke is a com- 
mander R.N., son of a country gentleman near Newcastle, 
well informed, a good linguist, knows Spain, a botanist, and 
gets on in geology. He is a little too fond of lagging a day 
for rest, as here where nothing is to be done. But such 
peccadilloes I pardon for his manifold virtues. At Bordeaux 
we learnt a great deal ; the place abounds in geologists, full 
of zeal, and their museums and conversation were very in- 
structive. Here we have a great gun of the old Wernerian 
school, D'Aubuisson, who amuses me much. He thinks the 
interest of the subject greatly destroyed by our new innova- 
tion, especially our having almost cut mineralogy and turned 
it into a zoological science. In short, like all men, he dis- 

T 2 

276 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

likes that which destroys his early and youthful associations, 
and he has too much to do as an engineer to keep up with 
the subject. It is what they call cold unseasonable weather 
in the south of France, but just what we like. The verdure is 
splendid and probably very unusual here. Fruit half ripe, 
vines promising no crop for want of sun. Instead of suffer- 
ing by heat, they tell us we shall be too cold in the Pyre- 
nees. The line of huge blocks at Carnac are nearly as big 
as Stonehenge in parts, and, forming ten rows, reaches four 
or five miles in a direct line E. and W. How they got them 
up is marvellous ; some are twenty feet high. We go to- 
morrow towards Ax, meaning to make a short excursion to 
a volcanic district round Olot in Catalonia, where Cooke has 
already been as a botanist ; we then return to Bagneres de 
Luchon, and then to Pau — future movements in the Pyre- 
nees will be governed by what we find in our first excursion. 
I hope to receive news at Bagneres de Luchon, and hear 
whether my book comes out or not. I shall be glad to hear 
your honest opinion of the work, regarded as one compre- 
hensible to the uninitiated. I am afraid that what delights 
my friend Scrope more than all — the honest history of the 
Mosaico-geological system — will hurt the sale. D'Aubuisson 
said this morning : ' We Catholic geologists flatter ourselves 
that we have kept clear of the mixing of things sacred and 
profane, but the three great Protestants, De Luc, Cuvier, and 
Buckland, have not done so ; have they done good to science 
or to religion ? — No ; but some say they have to themselves 
by it. Pray, gentlemen, is it true that Oxford is a most or- 
thodox university ? ' Certainly. ' WeU then, I make allow- 
ances for a professor there, dividing events into ante and 
post-diluvian : perhaps he could get no audience by other 

This attack against Buckland convinces me that the 
French Institute chose Conybeare before Buckland, because 
they considered the latter as trading in humbug, which I 
am sorry to say is notoriously true of Cuvier, but not of 
Buckland, for although I am convinced he does not believe 
his own theory now, to its full extent, yet he believed it 
when he first started it. 

The quiet and perfect order and calmness that reigned 


at Bourbon, Vendee, and Bordeaux and Toulouse during tte 
heat of the elections, afford a noble example to us — never 
were people in a greater state of excitement on political 
grounds than the French at this moment, yet never in our 
country towns were Assizes conducted with more serious- 
ness and quiet. There is no occasion to make the rabble 
drunk. All the voters of the little colleges are of the rank 
of shopkeepers at least, those of the highest are gentlemen, 
only 20,000 of them out of the 30 millions of French. They 
are too many for such jobbing as in a Scotch county, and too 
independent and rich to have the feelings of a mob. This 
city has elected all seven ministerial men — a rare case. The 
little colleges have iu general elected four out of five oppo- 
sition, the great colleges four out of five ministerial. The 
former are the democratic body, yeomen, merchants, &c. 
The landed interest is in the greater college. The number 
of royalists here is attributed to the personal influence of 
the ex-minister Villele. A gentleman told me at dinner to 
day : ' Villele is the only man Charles X. can choose. Poli- 
gnac must yield. Villele lost his place not by the censor- 
ship of the Press, nor by the law of sacrilege, nor by any of 
his unpopular ecclesiastical measures, however impolitic 
some of these may have been, but he ,lost it by his bill of 
primogeniture, a necessary measure for the salvation of 
France, but so hostile to the feelings of the people, that it 
is at the bottom of much of the opposition now manifested. 
Every family is in arms about this measure ; yet we shall be 
ruined if this partitioning goes on for ever.' I have been 
amused at their telling me that Polignac, when ia England, 
became an ultra-aristocrat. They say that Chateaubriand 
made a stand against Almack's and the exclusives, but 
that Prince Polignac gave into it, and as the Stewarts lost 
their crown by the monarchical lessons taught in France, so 
P. will lose his premiership by the ultra-aristocratical 
notions taught by the D. of Devonshire. Think of a French- 
man reasoning in this manner ! 

Love to all. Your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltblii. 

278 s/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

To His Sistek. 

Prades, near Perpignan, Valley of the Tet : July 21, 1830. 

My dear Caroline, — I believe it is an age since 1 last 
wrote, whieli I believe was addressed to Marianne from 
Toulouse. Thence we went by a baddish diligence to Foix 
on the Ariege, one of the most picturesque places on the 
northern flank of the Pyrenees. From thence we went to 
Ax, one of the great watering-places. I got two famous 
days' geology on that side of the mountains, and we filled a 
small box full of good fossils, which will throw light on the 
chain, of which I got a clear idea, as to structure. 

There is something in the general character of the deep 
valleys of the Pyrenees, different from what I remember in 
other chains, or rather the characters which belong elsewhere 
to minor valleys and those in rocks of a distinct nature, 
happen here to acquire a grand and Alpine scale. After Ax, 
where we found a number of French strangers, not like our 
loungers at watering-places, but really invalids, we ascended 
from the region of oaks and beeches to that of pines. A 
forest of silver firs was covered with the lichen, which I think 
we used to call in the New Forest ' old man's beard,' some of 
them being several feet long. I admired them so much, that 
Cooke was amused not a little. He is a great fancier of 
pines, and has discovered two or three new kinds, and looked 
on the lichen as a loathsome disease. He has rather a fancy 
to begin insect-hunting, and I could hardly persuade him 
that if we set up a net, there would be an end of geologising. 
When we got into the centre of the chain, into the granitic 
region, I was glad to relieve ennui by joining him in catch- 
ing those which were polite enough to offer themselves with- 
out trouble, and I have put them up in paper as Alpine 
kinds. We travelled on mules over the central chain, and 
then entered French Cerdagne by the valley of Carol. We 
went to Bourg Madame, as it is now christened, a village 
burnt by the Spaniards during the late war. On this 
frontier, close to Puycerda, we discovered a freshwater 
deposit unknown before, of considerable extent, filling an 
enormous valley, and containing animal, or at least testaceous 


remains, and wood. Althougli an old affair, and with a valley 
600 feet and more cut througli it, tlie nests of planorbis and 
Ij'mnea and the whole aspect of some beds are singularly 
like the Loch of Kinnordy. We heard from good authority 
an unfavourable account of the state of Catalonia, where 
there are three parties it seems — the constitutionalists, who 
think King Ferdinand too despotic; the royalists, who 
consider him as the best of all possible kings ; and the Carlists 
— I fear the strongest party — who consider him as not half 
despotic enough, and who would re-establish the Inquisition 
in full force. We were dissuaded from entering at present, 
and as Cooke feared to descend to the eastern extremity 
of the Pyrenees because of the heat, he kept upon the hill 
tops among his favourite pines, intending to visit the valley 
of Andorra, and then to go to Bagneres de Luchon, where 
our letters await us, and where I am to join him. My work 
was clearly in this region, and to-morrow morning I shall 
be at Perpignan. This cool season, the heat is positively a 
mere trifle even down here in comparison to what even 
Murchison worked regularly in, in Auvergne, Vivarais, and 
the Vicentin. As for me, I have only been just warm 
hitherto. My present scheme is to see the valley of the 
Tech, Tet, and La Gly, on the eastern extremity of this 
chain, and the newer formations at their foot near the sea, 
then to see the flanks of the chain, always the most interest- 
ing point to a geologist who is not too fond of mere mineral 
hunting, and so to get to Bagneres de Luchon in seven, eight, 
or more probably ten or twelve days — all which time I shall 
be without news from England since my departure. I have 
got through part of the Spanish grammar, probably to small 
purpose, except at some future time. I must get a cram in 
pronunciation from Tom. My companion has been very 
agreeable, but, as you may suppose, not quite so far gone in 
geology as to be inclined to keep it up with as much spirit 
as I do, and I doubt not I shall make great play now I have 
got sufficiently interested in the study of this magnificent 
chain, to caro less for the birth of my book than I did en 
voyage ; but in writing to you, I am curious again to know 
whether it is out, which I shall not learn for some two or 
three weeks, or possibly more. What I saw of the Spanish 

280 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xi. 

peasants in the valley of Puycerda, pleased me much, witli 
their red honnets, fine sunburnt countenances, swarthy 
almost, and active mountaineer walk. They make capital 
guides, and will beat a horse in a day's journey in the hills. 
I need hardly say that my pure Castilian did not aid me 
much Lu interpreting their language, but Italian did much. 
Yesterday I was among pine woods ; to-day, olives, vines, 
wild pomegranate, &c. 

With my best love, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sister. 

Perpignan : August 8, 1830. 

My dear Fanny, — I have just returned from a successful 
expedition into Catalonia. I believe I mentioned in my last 
that Cooke and I separated, after finding it impracticable to 
get into Spain, and after losing three days in the vain 
attempt. Encouraged by some Catalonian gentlemen here, 
I went in two days by diligence to Barcelona. A glorious 
view of the Pyrenees and of the delicious country bordering 
the Mediterranean to the south. The heat so great, that 
five Cuba merchants, my companions, pronounced it beyond 
that of the tropics. It did me no harm. We were fanned 
by machines at breakfast and dinner as in India, went without 
coats, drank incessantly, perspired while sitting still as if in full 
exercise ; but there was so much novelty in all to me, that I 
never felt my energy flag. As I entered Barcelona on a 
fite day, I was struck with the gentlemanlike appearance 
of the numerous priests, a fine, venerable-looking set in 
general, respected by the people, so different from the poor, 
ineaking clergy of Prance, who look as if they had no 
business in the country. The garrison, 8,000 strong, was in 
full review in honour of the Queen's birthday, before the 
Conde d'Espagne, an officer who distinguished himself 
under the Duke of Wellington in Spain, and who is looked 
up to as the main instrument of ridding Spain of the last 
French invasion, by outdoing the French in diplomacy. He 
was covered with orders. About 2,000 of the Eoyal Guard 
were among his troops — a mark of the high favour he is in. 

1830. AT BARCELONA. 281 

The next morniag, July 24, I called on the Count at the 
Palace, with Stephens, an Englishman, a great favourite at 
Court. He, d'Espagne, is obliged to be very inaccessible, or 
he would be mobbed, but his regard for the English ensures 
them a polite reception if recommended to him. As Stephens 
was intimate with Vyvyan and other brother Oxonians, and 
as I was the companion of Captain Cooke, a friend of 
d'Espagne, I met with great attention from the Count, who 
is Captain-general of Catalonia, and has more power than an 
Irish viceroy in that great and populous province. He called 
the next morning and left an invitation to dinner. I dined with 
him both that day and the next, and received from him a 
special passport signed by him, and letters to Governors, 
Abbots, &c., and was pressed to take with me one of his 
body-guard. ' I can ensure you respect from the authorities, 
but no magistrate can guarantee you against the brigands. 
You will have heard that we are not troubled with many now, 
but in the mountains, a district of smugglers, who can say 
what may happen ? Eor my sake, and that I may feel at rest, 
do not refuse.' I accepted, but when the Captain of the 
Guard came with the ' Mucho,' I declined, as I felt no 
insecurity, and as not one of the guard could speak French, 
nor serve as interpreter. With a mule and a guide on foot, 
who knew a few scraps of French, together with a few 
sentences of broken fatois, and Italian of my own, I got on 
without one misadventure through a glorious country for a 
geologist. Saw Monserrat, the salt mines of Cardona, Vich, 
and the volcanic district round Olot, and returned across the 
Pyrenees by Massanet to Ceret. A naturalist at Olot, who 
had written on the volcanos, talked French well. I re- 
entered France, August 7, and find that in my absence a 
great revolution was accomplished. The tricolor flag 
hoisted on all the churches, and the utmost order prevailing, 
without any apparent apprehension even on the part of the 
royalists as to security of person and property. I am not a 
little glad that I saw what I have seen in Spain before this 
news reached them. For whether there be a convulsion or 
not there, the apprehension which the authorities entertained 
had got to such a pitch even before I quitted, that but for the 
Captain- general I might not have got out again so soon ; 

282 sm CHARLES LYELL. CHAP. xi. 

delays to travellers will at least be multiplied. I must tell 
you my adventures and what I saw in Spain in future letters, 
for it was a tour full of novelty. The sort of feeling one has 
there of the government and laws and state of the nation is 
such, that the topsy-turvying of all things here seems a trifle 
to me in comparison. Here you know everything, bat in 
Spain there is a darkness and mystery, and an evident sense 
of danger which makes you uneasy ; and had I not been 
excited unusually by the scene and the important geological 
facts I learnt there, I should not have enjoyed it as I really 
did throughout the whole fortnight. I have got so inter- 
ested now about the Pyrenees, tha.t even the seeing in the 
newspapers how a dynasty had been upset, or rather how 
they had upset themselves, seemed a milk-and-water affair 
in comparison. I hope to keep in this mood till in a few 
weeks I have run along the flank of this fine chain to 

Although the Prefect, Sub-Prefect, and almost all the 
lower officers here have been already dismissed and replaced, 
I got my passport this morning with such promptitude, that 
I cannot but admire them. They seem determined that the 
machine shall work well in the midst of so complete an over- 
turning of the old hands, or out-turning. The outs even do 
not pretend that they are in any apprehension here, and 
other travellers are moving about with perfect confidence. 
No one has been even scratched here, and the troops are in 
perfect good-humour, though they kept up the old flag in the 
citadel, or at least refused four days to put up another until 
ministerial orders came, expressly commanding it. 

The only popular act of violence here has been the pulling 
down the crucifix erected by the congregation. I expect to 
hear they have done this almost throughout the country ; it 
was the banner of a party which has chiefly ruined the old 

With m^ love to all, believe me your affectionate brother, 

Chakles Ltell. 






Bagneres de Lnchon, D^pt. de la Haute Garonne : Augnst 10, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — As I have just returned from the 
Spanish side of the Pyrenees, I will not delay thanking you 
for your suggestion that the Olot volcano should be visited, 
a hint which has turned out fertile in good results to me, 
not only in regard to igneous rocks. After working a little 
on the Ariege from the plains of Toulouse, up to the source 
of that river, from the tertiary at the base of the chain to 
the granite which separates Prance from Spain, I descended 
with my companion Captain Cooke to Puycerda. . . . But I 
must now tell you something of the volcanos of Catalonia. 
Like those of the Vivarais, they are all both cones and 
craters, subsequent to the existence of the actual hills and 
dales, or in other words no alteration of previously existing 
levels accompanied or has followed the introduction of the 
volcanic matter, except such as the matter erupted neces- 
sarily occasioned. The cones, at least fourteen of them 
mostly with craters, stand like Monpezat, and as perfect, the 


currents flow down where the rivers would be if not dis- 
placed. But here, as in the Vivarais, deep sections have been 
cut through the lava by streams much smaller in general, 
and at certain points the lava is fairly cut through, and even 
in two or three cases the subjacent rock. Thus at Castel 
Toilet, a great current near its termination is cut through, 
and 80 or 90 feet of columnar basalt laid open, resting on an 
old alluvium, not containing volcanic pebbles, and below that, 
nummulitic limestone is eroded to the depth of 25 feet, the 
river being about 35 feet lower than when the lava flowed, 
thou gh most of the old valley is still occupied by the lava current. 
There are about fourteen or perhaps twenty points of eruption 
without craters. In all cases they burst through secondary 
limestone and sandstone, no altered rocks thrown up, as far 
as I could learn, not a dike exposed. A linear direction in 
the cones and points of eruption from north to south. Until 
some remains of quadrupeds are found, or other organic 
medals found, no guess can be made as to their geological 
date, unless anyone will undertake to say when the valleys 
of that district were excavated. As to historical dates, that 
is all a fudge. I found out the man who provided Maclure 
with all his antiquarian information, and after reading it, I 
can assure you that there never was an eruption within 
memory of man. There was an earthquake from south of 
Olot to Perpignan about four centuries ago, of which the 
exact date and all the circumstances are known. It did not 
do serious damage except at Olot, where the whole town, 
save one house, /eiZ in. So it may do again, if such a shock 
as rent every house in Genoa in 1829, and shook the Apen- 
nines and Piedmont, should return, for there are underground 
passages, and subterranean rivers, and grottos, and hollow 
mountains, in which the ' rimbombo ' is remarkable in the 
suburbs and environs of Olot. I say fell in, for houses and 
monasteries sunk entire into the ground, and have been dug 
out, their roofs on a level with the soil, within the time of 
men now living there. No shock or even tremor has been 
felt since, so that although Olot is far from the great line of 
fire, I do not think that earthquakes invalidate the rule, 
that at a distance from the great line, the shocks are rarer 
and less violent. The hollow foundation was an accident 

1 830. COUNT D'ESPAGNE. 285 

owing to volcanic eruption perhaps of another epoch, cer- 
tainly very ancient. 

Believe me, dear Serope, yours ever most truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sisteb. 

St. Gaudens, Haute Garonne : August 16, 1830. 
My dear Eleanor,— Before I forget my Spanish adven- 
tures, I will tell you a few of them before they get too stale. 
Since I re-entered France I have heard nothing but abuse of 
the Count d'Bspague, from whom I received so much atten- 
tion. On my arrival at Perpignan, I found that the Count's 
cousin-german. Baron Eaimond, Prefect of the Department, 
had fled in disguise to Barcelona. He has left behind him 
the character of a man of business and talent, but a tyran- 
nical instrument of the late ministry. He was most detested 
for having thrown seven Spaniards — refugees— into prison, 
where they had remained half-a-year, unable either to obtain 
a trial or accusation, or any notice of their offence. All 
declare this was done at d'Espagne's instance. The 
prisoners were released when Baron E. fled, and I got 
acquainted with one, a gentlemanlike well-read man, both in 
French and English literature, apparently rich, a thorough 
Spaniard, and proud of his country. He declared that 
d'Espagne was a sanguinary partisan without ability, that he 
was a Frenchman, never more than a colonel when the Dute 
of Wellington was in Spain, and that he owes his elevation 
to accident, &c. My own opinion, after conversing on many 
subjects with him (d'Espagne), was, that he was well- 
informed, but far from a man of first-rate talents, and if he 
is comparatively so in Spain, it would lead me to suspect 
that dans le pays des aveugles les borgnes sont rois. In Cata^ 
Ionia they give him credit for getting rid of the French by 
his diplomacy, and for having shot indiscriminately the 
priests as well as laymen, who were murdered in an insur- 
rection which the King sent him to quell. To the fear in- 
spired by his defiance of the ecclesiastics, many impute the 
tranquillity which reigned afterwards in his province. The 
Carlists or high-priest party hate him, but they fear him 


mucli. To their dislike, Jbowever, I rather impute the failure 
of our entry by Puycerda. I believe I never told you the par- 
ticulars. When Cooke and I reached the frontier, we went 
immediately to the Alcalde of Puycerda, to get our passports 
regularly signed. This Mayor or Justice of Peace (for I 
believe he serves in both capacities in Spain) kept us two 
hours waiting, and then said he could not sign till next 
morning, though he could not make any objection to our 
passports, which wei'e quite en regie. Next day we waited 
as before, and were then examined and cross-examined, as 
to our objects, &c. The slow and dignified air of the 
worthy magistrate were so diverting, that Cooke, who was 
not so keen as I to employ the time otherwise, thought 
himself well repaid. We were remanded for a third inter- 
view, but it was agreed that Cooke should go, while I geolo- 
gised, and had a good day's work. Oii that day Cooke 
found a priest with an immense shovel hat on the bench 
with the Alcalde, who cross-examined in a most inquisitorial 
way, and said that our objects seemed suspicious. ' That he, 
a captain in the British navy, should travel for stones and 
plants, neither he nor his companion being Medecin, or Agent 
des Mines — that a society was organised in London for dis- 
seminating liberal principles of government throughout 
Europe — how was he to know we were not Commissioners ? 
They had orders from Madrid,' &c. &c. Cooke showed an 
old passport from d'Espagne, and offered to send an express 
to Barcelona, but was told we must both appear before them 
the day after, i.e. the fourth day! The director of the 
French Douane now entreated us not to go. 'You risk your 
personal safety ; they often throw foreigners into prison, and 
when it is found that they are innocent, they let them out to 
be sure, but no other redress. I will go to the commandant 
of Puycerda, who is indignant at their treatment of you, 
and he will guarantee your personal safety and your return 
to the French frontier well and good.' The military com- 
mandant, a man of family, and very gentlemanlike, said he 
would rather decline a squabble with so troublesome a 
parvenu as the Alcalde. So we demanded our passports to 
be returned, but the devil a bit would he give them up. 
'As to the Conde d'Espagne,' said the great man, 'I receive 


my commands from a liigher source, from the King himself ! ' 
When this was afterwards told d'Espagne, he said, and the 
saying soon reached Puycerda, ' I wonder it never occurred 
to him that as I happen to be on the top of the ladder, and 
he at the bottom, I may kick him off.' The fact is the 
Mayor was a Carlist, an inquisitionist, and his hatred got 
the better of his prudence. We went without our national 
passports, and, but for Baron Eaimond's politeness at Per- 
pignan, I should never have got into Spain. After such a 
warning, I made a complete study of the police, and took 
every precaution, by getting d'Bspagne's special passport, 
&c. Once every day a signature must be got, which is often 
very awkward, as when the rivers were impassable, and I was 
sheltered in a miserable hovel far from any mayor or magis- 
trate. But the most annoying event was on my return. I 
had taken pains to get not only my passport and the guides, 
but also the passport of Mons. le Mulet, en regie at Olot, but 
was told that the latter would require another signature on 
entering France. When I got to Massart I was told I could 
not pass unless I got another horse. I went to the Alcalde in 
no small rage. Luckily he could speak Trench well. I showed 
him all my letters from d'Espagne, pass, &c., and said that 
the Mayor of Olot had insured me against any delay. Like 
all Spanish authorities, he first was very dignified, made me 
sit down, and then wrote a letter and gave orders about 
other matters. This I am told they always do, lest by 
attending to you at once, they should let themselves down. 
But at last he stirred in right earnest, insisted on my 
guide taking a day's less pay, and got with some trouble 
another beast, who happened to be provided with a proper 
passport. ' I could sign your passport,' said he, ' but have 
not authority to sign your mule's. There is no magistrate 
nearer than S. Lorenzo (half-a-day) who could give you 
that ! ' What a gloi-ious state of political economy ! yet they 
are quite right. The priest and Mayor of Puycerda frankly 
told the French Douanier that ' the fewer English and 
French who travel in Spain the better,' and so it is for their 
views. By prohibiting books, travelling, internal circulation, 
of commerce, &c., they may retain their absolute dominion 
some years longer, and I shall not pity them if they are 

288 , sm CHARLES LYELL. 


then hurled down from their place like the Tarti pretre in 
Prance. I must defer a curious religious ceremony which I 
saw till next letter. 

My love to all. Believe me your affectionate brother, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Bagn^res de Luohon : August 17, 1830. 

My dear Father, — I arrived here last night, and found 
that Captain Cooke had had the patience to wait here. Had 
he known, he says, how much I should accomplish in Spain, 
he should have braved the heat. We are now going to work 
at the Central and Western Pyrenees. The excursion to 
Spain I prize the more, as the gates are now closed upon us ; 
at least no prudent man will now venture across the frontier. 
There is such excitement in Andalusia, that whether it pass 
off or not, the facilities of travelling are at an end. On my 
way from Perpignan to BarceV>na, on the French side of the 
Pyrenees, I passed for many miles through a great forest of 
cork-trees, with some ilex intermixed, and I came back 
through a much larger wood of cork in returning from. Olot 
to Cerat in the valley of the Tech. Some were as large as 
good-sized oaks, and more like old olives than I had imagined. 
I was surprised that the bark was only red when the outer 
bark had been taken off for cork, so that the red colour 
spoke of in Southey's 'Don Roderick' is due to laceration. 
I suspect that Mr. S. got his information second-hand, and 
was not aware that it was no characteristic of natural scenery, 
that the white bark is more picturesque, and that the partial 
removal of so thick a rind has a very bad effect in the land- 
scape. The old trees are quite disfigured by it ; he has been 
guilty of singing the praises of the mere result of commercial 
industry, and might be annoyed if he knew how unpoetic and 
vulgar a feature he has seized upon. It was a very fine 
country I went through, and I had several days of wild rides 
from Cardona to Olot, by mountain pathways through end- 
less woods of pines and olives mixed and some fine ilex. It 
looks much in the state of Sicily, but perhaps farther 
advanced. The heat is shown by the fact that there are 
machines for fanning you and driving off flies as you eat ; 


milk, butter, coffee, or tea to be got anywhere, but strange 
to say you can get a better cup of chocolate than you could 
often meet with in France, in a poor peasant's house, for a 
small sum, and made in five minutes. Their brown bread is 
not so black and bad as in Sicily, the wine generally good 
and cheap, the meat very bad, cost of living about the same as 
in France, but less fair dealing in small places. Although the 
French journals pretend the contrary, their national pre- 
judices, especially against them, are very strong in all parties, 
high and low. In fact they are ignorant, and immense pains 
are taken to keep them so. The gravity with which after 
consultation, my dictionary and Spanish grammar were 
allowed to, the only books I had, was diverting. Yet 
the arts of writing and reading appear to be pretty generally 
spread among the poor in Catalonia, and they are advancing. 
As I knew d'Espagne might feel it as a slight if I declined 
one of his guards, T determined to see if there was among 
them a good interpreter, in which case it might have been 
worth while. As Catalonia is on the frontier, and the French 
were settled there longer than in any other part of Spain, I 
fancied it impossible that out of the hundred men one should 
not be found to speak French. The barrack was a curious scene, 
a swarthy race of most active-looking armed mountaineers. 
They carry a small rifle and a cord with a loop, which they 
throw over the head of any one they pursue, much like the 
lasso of South America. This singular weapon of the police 
gives them immense advantage in pursuing an enemy up hill. 
As each group was asked if any one of them could speak 
French, they replied with a kind of shout. Somas Catalanes, a 
little indignation being felt at the very idea of such an 
unnational acquirement. Even in the enlightened city of 
Barcelona, a Gastilian is regarded as so far a foreigner that 
genteel families from Castile, settled there, find the national 
prejudices much against them in society ! The abbe of 
Monserrat moaned over the splendid monastery which the 
French had levelled to the ground by their cannon in hello 
independenticB (he talked Latin to me), and over the reduction 
of his friars to the small number of three hundi'ed ! And 
how many had you before? Mne hundred ! On the top 
VOL. I. u 

290 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

of a hill 3,000 feet high, singing morning, noon, and night, in 
an empty church ! They have rebuilt the convent in a vulgar 
square house, like an enormous manufactory. At Olot I 
arrived on the feie, day of the Patron Saint, and saw the 
procession well from the balcony of my friend the apothecary, 
Bolos — what a good name for a pharmacien ! His daughters, 
even the youngest child, seemed to be so tired of such sights, 
that their only amusement was the interest I took in it. The 
standards of twelve saints of the town came first, with an 
image at the top of each. When the procession stopped, to 
chant before different altars in the streets, these standards 
were made to rest on the ground erect, by means of ropes 
connected, like the shrouds to a mast, with the top of the 
pole, and these ropes held by men and boys who balanced it 
in this manner. The children held small flags, and could 
not resist using them to fan themselves as the heat was 
great. When laughed at for this, they often made a drive at 
the boys round them with the sacred banners, then came a 
regular English scuffle. The combatants got beyond the 
length of their tether, the saint was tugged on one side, and 
the image of St. Stephen, after three swings, came within a 
few inches of my head in the balcony. The older men did 
not seem to scold the youngsters for this, as it seems a sort 
of saturnalia, and I saw several other similar rows. Before 
a long line of Carmelitans who were chanting, was a girl of 
about seventeen years, dressed in white, and with two immense 
white paper wings on her shoulders. She carried a great 
silver cross. ' Look out for tlie angel ! ' exclaimed Bolos's 
children to me, and sure enough there never was a better 
figure in any pantomime. A cherub who preceded the 
Capucins was nothing in comparison. One part of the 
procession was really imposing : it consisted of ' the 
devout,' private individuals, chiefly peasants, who volun- 
teered attending, each with a long torch and with a 
brown cloak thrown over them. They went two by two, 
so that there was a long line of flame as far as the eye could 
reach in either direction. I observed to Bolos that there 
was much religion throughout Catalonia, though the French 
say there is less than in other parts of Spain. His reply 
was, 'C'est un pays de montagnes, monsieur.' Want of 

1830. PINE-TREES. 291 

space must cut short my Spanish journal till another oppor- 

With love to all, believe me, your affectionate son, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Bagnferes de Luchon ; August 18, 1830. 

My dear Caroline, — I have been writing a long letter to 
Scrope this morning with an account of the Olot volcanos, in 
what they agree, and in what they differ from those of ten 
other volcanic regions which we have both visited between 
Clermont and Capo Passaro. I was in Spain yesterday, 
having crossed the frontier a few miles on the summit of the 
ridge. All is quiet in Aragon, the French news univrersally 
known. Many of the people give the present king's ministry 
the credit of having wished several reforms, but of having 
been prevented by the ultra-priest-and-king-party at Paris. 
I wish this may be true. The climate here is almost cold, a 
sudden change from Barcelona, where the thermometer was 
for three days at 94° Faht. At Olot 90° and above. My mule 
was furnished with a pair of thick wooden stirrups, clumsy 
things which I fancied would be close and hot, but they were 
luxurious as keeping the sun from striking on my boots, 
which felt as if they must crack when exposed to his rays. 
Cooke tells me that the great forests of moderate-sized pines, 
mixed with Olives and Ilex, which I passed through in Cata- 
lonia, were all of Finns halepensis. It is not so handsome as 
Pinus pinea, but resembles it. The old forests of the Pyre- 
nees have suffered terribly by the axe, and will soon be 
annihilated. They have been magnificent, and are still fine 
here. Beech, silver-fir, and high up Pinus uncinata. 
D'Espagne is now near us here, having marched as great a 
force as he can muster to the frontier, for fear of an explo- 
sion at so critical a conjuncture. Por my part I expect the 
troops will be as ready as any to set up a new order of things, 
the of&cers being very generally in favour of diminishing the 
power and revenues of the church. 

What you mention about the election and the anecdotes 
of the mob-rule which I see daily in the papers, make me 


292 S/H CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

ashamed of our system. The calm manner and the rational 
behaviour of the French in their last elections, when greatly 
excited, forms a proud contrast for them. Much public spirit 
was shown in placemen resigning or braving the threats of 
displacement, when ordered by the Prefects to vote for 
ministers. The south of France is more monarchical than 
the north, and they are relieved beyond measure at finding 
that at Paris the republican party did not muster stronger. 
They forget, however, that it was not Paris, but the Deputies 
who conducted the revolution. I have heard furious disputes. 
One day a fierce republican, a collector of the taxes at Ceret, 
was nearly silenced, and at last one of his opponents said, 
' But in point of fact, sir, do you not anticipate the nomina- 
tion of the Diike of Orleans to be king ? ' ' C'est probable, 
monsieur, car nous sommes toujours les singes des Anglais.' 
Did I tell you a Frenchman's comment on the removal of the 
cross of the mission from the Cathedral at Perpignan ? 
' Chacun a son tour, le bon Dieu a eu le sien.' An American 
here tells me that he was opposite the hotel of the Prefect at 
Bordeaux, when the mob nearly killed him. He kept his 
drawn sword in his hand the whole time. They threw his 
carriage and four fine horses into the Garonne. The latter 
of course were drowned. Not one person was killed at 
Toulouse, and the reports of deaths were all fables. I heard 
a dispute this morning in which a friend of Charles X. said, 
' You stand up for the responsibility of ministers — well and 
good — how then can the king be responsible ? If you punish 
his advisers, you must admit the principle " that the king 
can do no wrong." ' The answer was severe enough. 
' Monsieur, dans nos jours ce n'est que la canaille qui violent 
leurs sernients en France.' 

Believe me, your afi'ectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Mothee. 

St. Sauveur, Pyrenees : August 25, 1830 
My dear Mother,— Since I last wrote to Caroline from 
Bagneres de Luchon I have made with Cooke a successful 
expedition to near the summit of Mont Perdu, which is 

1830. MONT PERDU. 293 

within a few Lundred feet of being the highest of this chain. 
As the last letter from Kinnordy told me you were reading 
my book without being pozed or wearied, I ought to tell you 
that besides affording the most picturesque scenery of these 
mountains, this celebrated point is of the highest geological 
interest, from its affording an exception to the general rule. 
In other chains the loftiest and central parts consist of rocks 
which do not enclose any remains of shells and corals, and 
you must go to the flanks or to the low grounds at their base 
in order to collect such objects. Here, on the contrary, you 
find at an elevation of between nine and eleven thousand 
feet, a profusion of sandstones and limestones, in the very 
middle of the Pyrenees, full of plants, shells, and zoophytes, 
many in so perfect a state, and in such thick beds, that you 
cannot doubt for a moment that you see the bottom of an old 
sea, now covered by glaciers, or so high that it supports no 
vegetation. There is one scene, the celebrated Cirque de 
Gavarnie, an amphitheatre of rocks with a high cascade on 
one side, which is quite unlike anything in Switzerland. On 
my arrival at Gavarnie, I had a fine view of this in a clear 
sky. The next morning we started for Mont Perdu. Having 
learnt that our whole time would be occupied with going and 
returning without leaving any time for work if we did not 
sleep on the mountain in a shepherd's cot, we resolved to do 
so, as other geologists ha,d done. First we climbed up by 
steep precipices, and over much snow to a great rent called 
' Orlando's breach.' Just before you arrive there, you must 
cross a glacier which is very steep, and overhangs a deep 
precipice. The guides had hatchets to cut holes, by which 
alone you can stir a step ; in addition crampons are fixed to 
your shoes, and you have the usual alpine pole with an iron 
pike at the end. Six smugglers carrying burdens on their 
heads, and armed like ourselves with pikes, followed in our 
train, and reminded me exactly of my father's plate of the 
ascent of Mont Blanc of Saussure and his party. Roland's 
breach is an opening in a ridge or wall of limestone, which 
runs down from the summit of Mont Perdu about seven or 
eight hundred feet in height. You cross this portal from 
France to Spain in about forty steps, and you are carried at 
once to a new woi'ld as it were, a grand mountain view with 



six distinct distances opening on the Spanish side. The 
foreground is a remarkable scene of desolation. Although 
not covered with snow, the rocks are bare, with scarcely 
a patch of green, not even on the most level parts. The 
anatomy of the hills is exposed in a manner very unusual, 
and very satisfactory to a geologist. You see that the strata, 
once horizontal, have not been carried up 1,000 feet without 
getting twisted and thrown about in the most confused 
manner. After a long day's hard work, and very improving, 
we crept into the Spanish shepherd boy's cabin. A small 
flock is sent up to feed on a few patches of green for about 
two months in the year. On the side of a precipice a hovel 
has been made, covered with turf in so rude a manner, that 
when we came to it, and it was pointed out to us, we looked 
for a long time and could not guess where the habitation 
was. You crawl in on all fours, as into a cave ; the inside 
was ten feet by six, and about five feet in its greatest height. 
In this was made a fire of wood, the smoke escaping through 
chinks in the wall, and by the hole of the entrance, which is 
never closed even by a stone. The inside of this hut was 
smoke-dried quite black. "We had each taken up a blanket, 
and kept up a fire all night, but unluckily there was not 
room for us, especially my companion, who is a head taller, 
to lie at full length, so we passed an uneasy night enough, 
and were not a little delighted when a second fine day 
enabled us to crawl out at sunrise. I am quite sure that had 
I taken two blankets and bivouacked instead, I should have 
slept sound after my fatigue, and another time I would 
always do this, for had we had a bed instead of hard stones 
to lie on, the being unable to turn and lie at fuU length 
would still have been painful for so many hours. The poor 
lad gave me a bag of hard oats to put under my head, 
' because,' he said, ' I might find a stone (which was there for 
a pillow) not soft enough ! ' We of course had taken up 
provisions, for he had not even a drop of milk, and was 
obliged to go half an hour's distance for the nearest water, 
and three hours for a single stick of fuel. He passes two 
months with a child (his brother), is very happy, congra- 
tulating himself that he has not to sleep out like the smug- 
glers, with the risk of imprisonment for life. It was matter 


of DO smuU regret to us that the present severity and delays 
of Spanish passports forced us to abandon our proposed con- 
tinuation of the same line of observation down to the base of 
the Spanish side of the chain. When we returned over the 
glaciers it was necessary to make a new road, all the deep 
holes being filled with water which had frozen in the night. 
We brought back a famous quantity of fossil shells. 
With love to all, believe me. 

Your affectionate son, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Bayonne : September 10, 1830. 

My dear Marianne, — At Orthez we collected a good many 
fossil shells, and had a present made us of some by a French 
jproprietaire, an amusing character. He took us to his marl 
pits on the summit of some hills covered with oak, fern, 
heath, &c., in short quite New Forest scenery, which re- 
minded me of some similar marl pits near Stony Cross, 
where I used to hunt for shells, He had bought a good 
quantity of land very cheap, out of the savings as we after- 
wards learnt of a place of no less than 200Z. sterling per 
annum, an immense thing in France, which he had got in 
the tax office from the minister Villele, whose physician his 
father had been. He has turned agriculturist, and im- 
proved the estate very much. But he lives in hourly dread 
of losing his post, which we were afterwards assured he 
certainly would do, and his gloomy anticipations made him 
see all the late changes in a light which may be taken as a 
good example of what thousands of the ' outs ' now feel in 
this country. We gave him a dinner at the hotel, and as 
he never suspected we should learn anything of his real 
history, he launched out without reserve, declaring that 
France had within her, in an unexampled degree, all the 
elements of happiness, but when things were well they 
could never leave them alone, that a pwre despotism was the 
only form really suited to the French, and that Villele was 
the greatest minister they ever had, that the deprivation of 
the Villele peerages was not only illegal but une sottise ; — 

2296 s/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

that persons now in place had not resisted the late changes, 
because on former turns out they had not changed more 
than the chiefs, but had it been known that all were to be 
upset, the revolution would have been withstood. To be 
quiet, it was supposed would have brought its reward with 
it. But the new order cannot last, &c. Then he uttered 
a furious tirade against place-hunting. ' Every shop-keeper 
has left Orthez for Paris, and each thinks he shall return a 
Prefect, or sub-Prefect at least. To be only a mayor, is 
what a cobbler would not condescend now to accept, if he is 
but a Liberal. As Lafitte is from Orthez, they all go up to 
him, to beg that so and so may be turned out to make room 
for them.' If clever men could talk like our little friend, it 
was high time that the demoralising effect of Villele's 
system should cease. As for place-hunting, while men can 
buy estates out of the savings of a few years, there will be 
enough of that. If they want to cure the disease in part 
they must economise and reduce salaries. 

Tour affectionate brother, 

Chaules Ltell. 

to poulett scrope, esq. 

Bayonne : September 11, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — I trust that neither the length of the 
article which the spirit has moved you to pen, nor the 
strength of the doctrines will prevent the editor from inter- 
posing it between me and that powerful party among us, 
who are hervous to a degree on certain subjects, and of 
whom even some of the moderates, have already hinted to 
members of our family, that my work, though certainly 
' creditable to the author's talents, contains opinions that 
may well cause some alarm ! ' The decision of the Q. R. 
would settle the doubts of many of those good people, who 
only want to be told from authority what they mat/ think. 
How I wish I could profit by the perusal of the slips, par- 
ticularly on the part relating to the laws of running water, 
before I enter upon an explanation of experiments which I 
wish you to make, and which I should like to make the 
subject of a paper by Scrope and Lyell for the G. S., refer- 


ring to it, if not concluded before, in my next vol., as about 
to appear ! It will require patience to obtain all the results, 
but I am now more sure than ever that we may out of 
small and apparently trifling observations, if not construct, 
at least overturn many much-famed theories. I have for a 
long time been making minute drawings of the lamination 
and stratification of beds, in formations of very different 
ages, first with a view to prove to demonstration that at 
every epoch the same identical causes were in operation. I 
was next led in Scotland to a suspicion since confirmed, that 
all the minute regularities and irregularities of stratification 
and lamination were preserved in primary clay-slate, mica- 
slate, gneiss, &c., showing that before their transformation, 
they had been subjected to the same general and even acci- 
dental circumstances attending the. sedimentary accuraula- 
tion of seconda,ry and fossil-bearing formations. Lastly, I 
came to find out that all these various characters were iden- 
tical with those presented by the bars, deltas, &c., of existing 
rivers, estuaries, &o. Now, in my present tour, I have more 
ill support of these positions than it would be possible in a 
sheet to explain, but I will just put down the facts and 
theories as they occur, currente calamo, and I do it, in full 
confidence that you will soon begin the experiments they 
wiU suggest. I have igneous experiments to suggest at 
another time. On the flanks of the Pyrenees is an extensive 
formation of vertical, curved, and contorted beds, of thinly 
laminated sandstone, sand, clay, slatey marl, slatey limestone, 
&c., all thinly bedded, as well as thinly laminated. The only 
organic remains in a thickness of many hundred feet are 
numerous and beautiful impressions of fuci. The sandstone 
slabs have almost all the ripple-mark, visibly and exactly 
preserved. The fuci are spread out conformably to the 
planes of lamination, bending with the undulations of the 
ripple-mark. The ripple-mark is strongest in the sands, 
and indicated by layers of mica. A section longitudinal to 
the furrows, and ridges, gives a slightly undulatory lamina- 
tion : transverse, gives a wavy and curved line, and other- 
figures common in primary and secondary rocks. An in- 
spection whether of the surface or of the transverse section 
of the laminae of a ripple-marked slab, shows at once that 

298 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

such a disposition of laminae is the effect not of the action 
of running water upon matter deposited, but on matter 
depositing. The general notion, I believe, has been that the 
furrows have been scooped out ; it is not so, the ridges are 
made by addition, not the grooves by subtraction. Hence 
a difficulty may be got over.— How could 600 feet and more 
of ripple-marked beds be formed in succession ? how could 
the ripple influence the bottom at such a depth ? Answer, 
It arranged the sediment in that way near the surface, 
which fell through an undisturbed medium hundreds of feet in 
that form, and fell in that order on the bottom. Qy. If 
sand and mud be spread through a river, going at such a 
rate as to hold it in suspension, and a wind blows against it, 
and raises a ripple, does not this cause lines of retardation 
which cause matter to fall from the upper part' in long 
coils ? Try experiments. The ripple cannot penetrate many 
fathoms deep, may not its superficial effect or sediment be 
the cause ? The ripple arrangement is seen in sandstone on 
very different scales of magnitude, from minute curves of 
a few lines to waves a foot and a half large each. I 
observed a strong ripple-mark on the sand of the river Gave 
de Pau, parallel to the bank at Orthez. I destroyed it in 
certain parts. Next day it was not renewed in those parts, 
but remained where I had not touched it. I effaced it on a 
sand-bar at the confluence of a mill-dam. In the evening, 
when the sluice was open, a muddy stream came down. 
Next day the sluice being shut, I found the new surface of 
the bar as deeply ripple-marked as the sea-sands ever are — 
and although it was soft sand and the water only 2 inches 
deep, a strong ripple of the river, washing over, did not in 
the least blunt or obliterate the undulations, yet loose grains 
of sand thrown into the hollow were immediately washed 
away. I threw sand and small pieces of dead leaves water- 
logged into a creek, the sands of which were ripple-washed, 
the depth of water being about six inches. The fresh 
matter was washed to and fro, sometimes all in suspension, 
sometimes thrown down irregularly, but every now and 
then all the vegetable matter arranged itself along the axis 
of the ridges, and waved backwards and forwards like sea- 
weed, as if growing in lines upon the top of the ridges. After 

1830. RIPPLE-MARK. 299 

a whole hour of this movement there was no tendency of the 
newly-injected matter either to increase the ripple-mark, or 
to diminish it by settling in the hollows. It is evident that 
the preservation of the ripple-mark is consistent with con- 
siderable agitation of the bottom. In sandstones this pecu- 
liar disposition of laminae is more marked and more general 
than in mud-stones. But if mud be deposited on an uneven 
surface, it will preserve the form of the mould. When 
shale and marl alternates with sandstone, they must be 
ripple-marked. Gneiss, as Macculloch truly says, does not 
in Scotland present in hand-specimens those small undulations 
so common in laminae of mica-schist. May not this be that 
the granitic schists (gneiss) in which are much felspar, came 
from mnd, aluminous clayey beds, &c. ; those in which are 
only quartz and mica (mica-schist) from ripple-marked mica- 
ceous sandstone ? This is thrown out as a guess. — I once 
saw the sand-dunes of Calais, which are from one to two 
hundred feet high, ripple-marked for acres, as distinctly as 
a sea-beach. This theory must apply to air, therefore, as well 
as water. It was fine-blown sand, and no vegetation on 
those parts to cause or interfere with the wind's motion. 
The sands had been moved recently at Ussat. I stirred up 
the fine sand of the A.riege. It rose in clouds, and the mica 
was seen suspended in thin broadish plates all parallel, and 
reflecting the sun quite in a blaze. They fell on a steep 
bank at last, which glittered with them. One should have 
lots of mica for experiments. I will get a box full from 
Scotland. Meantime pound up mussel shells, freshwater, 
which will do perhaps as well. A large and deep trough, 
with gently slanting sides, might enable us to experiment. 
Get a paddle-wheel which will turn with the hand, and 
make a ripple adL libitum, and sand and mud of different 
kinds to be deposited. Then we will afterwards mix matter 
in chemical solution. After a due series of failures, blun- 
ders, wrong guesses, &c., we will establish a firm theory. — 
Have you read Dr. Young's experiments on the arrangement 
of sand upon boards vibrating by diffei-ent notes of stringed 
instruments ? The symmetrical forms obtained are wonder- 
ful. Believe me ever yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

300 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

To His Sistee. 

Bordeaux : September 20, 1830. 

My dear Caroline, — I have received your letter on my 
arrival to-day, besides two epistles, one from Broderip, and 
another from Scrope. The latter informs me that Lockhart 
had allowed him three sheets for his article on me, and that 
he had printed and revised nearly /oitr, an unconscionable 
length, which may probably incur the pruning of which he 
is very apprehensive ; and though I expect a good article 
written con amore, I am much afraid there are parts which 
it may be prudent for the editor of the ' Quarterly Review ' 
to omit, lest he should excite hostility from the Oxonians 
and others. There are some of my doctrines to which he 
demurs, though in general with me. As to my original 
receipt for heating up or cooling down our planet to the re- 
quired degree of temperature, he was very animated against 
it in his first letter, but at last he fairly owns that he gives 
up the attack, ' that he shall not grapple with it at present, 
and though perhaps not true, it is certainly most ingenious,' 
&c. Broderip says he is making marginal notes for the second 
edition, of which therefore he maizes sure. I am glad that even 
in vacation time they contrived to give Cuvier a public 
dinner,' at which Fitton was President, and Broderip vice- 
president, and thirty men, including all the eminent natural- 
ists then in London, were there. In addition to his higher 
claims to such a distinction, Cuvier is always most attentive 
and hospitable to the English at Paris. 

Cooke is gone into Spain, I suppose, this day, the very one 
fixed on by 17,000 Spaniards to enter, as they declare here, 
sword in hand. Ferdinand the beloved has just published, I 
am told, an ordonnance ordering any one they catch to be 
shot immediately, which is a good set-off against the late 
deeds of the brother Bourbon. ' The Spaniards,' says Cooke, 
' conduct a war and even a revolution, with such slow and 
deliberate measures, that you have only to pass into the next 
province, and it will be weeks or months before the mischief 
13 there.' I must say I would not go in myself, unless to 
' At the Geological Society. 

1830. PARIS. 301 

take part with the Liberals, to look close at them, and be 
able to give a true account of what I expect will be a serious 
business; but Cooke positively means to make a scientific 
tour, and he ought from experience to know how far it is 
practicable. I got him out three out of four wet days, along 
the cliffs south of Bayonne. On the last a tremendous surf, 
in addition to the heavy rain, cooled considerably what little 
courage was left in him ; and although he soon revived 
again, I shall get on much better alone. Murray of Simprinj 
said to me, ' Take care and get a companion, if you have one 
at all, on a short lease, renewable at pleasure.' I am happy 
to say we parted excellent friends, but I did not do the most 
geology in a given time when with him. Since I left Bayonne 
I found at Dax some famous French provincial workmen, 
n.nd a very pleasant society. Delightful old oak forests, as 
wild as ours in Hants, interspersed with beautiful heaths, 
and here and there a tract of sand covered with pines, pinus 
mnritima, the only one which will grow there. I think I 
never saw such fine old Eoman walls and towers as at Dax. 
I made many acquaintances, and a geological discovery, with 
which I will not trouble you now. 

I ought to have begun with the Bayonne cliffs, although 
the Parisians do not appear yet to have explained them well. 
There is the key to the Pyrenees, and God grant a revolution 
in Spain, that half of it may not be closed to geologists. 
Had I been alone I should hardly have made such a blunder 
as to begin in the interior, when there was a coast at hand 
exposed to the tides. 

With love to all, believe me, 

Your affectionate brother, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Paris: October 2, 1830. 

My dear Marianne, — I found all the world here, as you 
may easily suppose, full of politics, and on no other subject 
can they think or talk. Prevost, when I saw him first, had 
just been dining with the King, in the dress of a private of the 
National Guard, having been invited as the principal member 


who happened to be in Paris, when the Geological Society have 
thought fit to go up with an address which Prevost penned. 
He sent a copy in to the roi tres ciioyen about an hour 
before. The reply, which was delivered viva voce, was very 
neat, and was in allusion to each part of the address, and in 
the same order. If Louis Philippe had not the gift of making 
these speeches, with the ease which he does, and always to 
the point, and just such as please the Liberals, his labour 
would have been insufferable, for the number he has had to 
make, and the variety of the subjects, is extraordinary. All 
agree that he plays his part as if born for the peculiar situa- 
tion in which he now is. The difficulty of finding lodgings 
here now in hotels is considerable. The confluence consists 
in no small measure of place-hunters from the country, quite 
confirmiatory of all I had heard in different towns of the de- 
parture of innumerable expectants of new promotions. This 
hotel is full of military men, called, as it were from the dead, 
the forgotten and proscribed campaigners of Napoleon, who 
are reinstated to a certain extent, those who were not too 
old, and who are now in part employed to drill the National 
Guard. A great many cannot get employment, and are 
praying night and day for the entry of the Prussians into 
Belgium, in the hope of the French being drawn into the 
affair. A finer opportunity, they say, could not have happened 
for ' resuming our natural limits on the Rhine ; ' but then 
they have a pusillanimous cabinet, and unless the people rise 
again, as they ought to do, there is great fear that the Bel- 
gians may be put down, and that the ex-ministers will not 
be condemned. Pine constitutional notions ! The affair of 
Brussels has excited great interest here, and they contrive to 
persuade themselves that it is much more a counterpart of 
their own than it really is. The effect of these stirring news 
every hour has been that none of the French naturalists have 
thought of geology, and Prevost has made but little progress 
even in reading my book, which ere this he was to have half 
translated. He says moreover that he finds himself too little 
of an English scholar to be able without great labour to com- 
prehend les pSriodes soutenues of the introductory essays. I 
found Deshayes excusing himself for having made no pro- 
gress in naming my Sicilian and other shells, by his necessity 



of working for his daily bread for encyclopaedias, &c. ; and 
liaving ascertained that his situation was very bad, I came 
to an agreement to take him off all other work in order to 
give me a private course of fossil conchology, in which he is to 
give me all his time for a month, towards the zoological part 
of Vol. 2, also to give me two months' additional work when 
I am gone, providing me with the results derivable from his 
great collection and that of others at Paris, relating to the 
newer formations, which he intends to publish in a Manual 
of Conchology a year and a half hence. I shall thus be 
giving the subject a decided push, by rendering the greater 
wealth of the French collectors available in illustrating the 
greater experience of the English geologists in actual ob- 
servation, for here they sit still, and buy shells, and work 
indoors, as much as we travel. I am nearly sure now that 
my grand theory of temperature will carry the day, and at 
least I have had the satisfaction hitherto of finding no one 
dispute its entire novelty. I will treat our geologists with a 
theory for the newer deposits in next vol., which, although 
not half so original, will perhaps surprise them more. I am 
prepared to hear from Murray that the political hubbub has 
injured the sale, for all the Natural History and Medical 
booksellers here declare they shall be ruined ; they are 
literally reduced to sticking up political pamphlets in their 

October 3. — A soiree at Baron Ferussac's last night. In- 
stead of natural history, he was full of an approaching 
election contest, for a place for which he is to stand in the 
south. He got in by three votes as a Charles X. man, a 
short time ago, but now he has hoisted the tricolor flag. I 
shall have to work for three weeks or more here, and shall 
be glad to hear from you. The best geologists are not yet 
returned from their summer campaign to Paris. One of ours. 
Weaver, is here. Great disappointment among the officers 
to-day, because the Prussian invasion of Belgium is contra- 

With love to all, believe me yours affectionately, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

304 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 


Hotel du Shone, Rue de Gfrenelle — St. Honor6, Paris : October 8, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — I must not delay any more writing for 
fear you should put off your proposed expedition to the sea- 
coast, in expectation of my joining you, which I shall be 
unable to do, although nothing would really be to me so 
great a treat. I must, however, be satisfied to run one hare 
at a time, and I am flying at high game just now. I am 
going through a course of fossil conchology, particularly with 
a view of satisfying myself as to the identification either of 
recent with fossil tertiary species or of those of different 
basins with each other ; and I am having, at considerable 
expense, tables made out of more than 3,000 species of ter- 
tiary shells in the collection of Deshayes and others in 
Paris, of which the localities are well determined, and have 
been almost all visited by myself. The results are already 
wonderful as confirming the successive formation of different 
basins, and the gradual approximation of the present order 
of things, and will settle, I hope for ever, the question whe- 
ther species come in all at a batch, or are always going out 
and coming in. A multitude of other surprising conclusions 
arise, and the harmony of the whole with the phenomena of 
earthquakes and volcanos, of geological super-position, of 
the position of land-quadrupeds (fossil), of contents of fresh- 
water lake formations, &c., is very beautiful. I am too busy 
to enter into the ripple theory. Prevost has been working at 
it here, for in the Calcaire-grossier it is a common pheno- 
menon. He thinks with you it is connected with undulations 
of inferior currents, &c. 

Make experiments on waves in an estuary. It is to me 
a most puzzling phenomenon. The wind was blowing up 
the Gironde one day, and as I thought the waves rolling up, 
although the tide ran down several miles an hour. I threw 
some pieces of paper into the river (we were at anchor), and 
was astonished to see them first fly out of my hand to the 
south, or up the stream carried by wind ; but instantly on 
touching the water float down very swiftly, passing over the 
waves as if there were no wind against them. At last the 


-wind got up so as to make the waves curl over and break in 
foam upon themselves. Of course, when pieces of paper came 
to one of these breakers the falling wave stopped it for a 
moment, but the instant afterwards it was seen far below, 
floating on the superficial water. It was clear, then, that 
the waves were tidal waves ; and I then remarked that on 
them there was ripple which the wind caused. This small 
ripple was all the wind could raise. Now on watching this 
ripple I saw it often remain quite abreast of me, the great 
waves passing down, just as a person in a long barge going 
down a canal might keep close to you as you stood on the 
bank, by running from the prow to the stern at the same 
rate as the barge was carried down. Here I apprehend was 
a complete equilibrium in part of the upper stratum, while 
the ripple retained its place. I found just within the mouth 
of the Grironde, in the sands at low water, a large tract with 
a beautiful double ripple-mark, a larger one parallel to the 
shore, and the other at right angles, consisting of small ones. 
The great ridges were 5 inches or so high, the smaller ones 
1^ about. They were like a plan in relief of longitudinal 
and lateral valleys in a mountain-chain ; but the summit of 
the larger and higher ridges had not been disturbed by the 
cause which added the lateral ones. I am afraid I shall not 
be intelligible without a longer letter. 

Deshayes has found at St. Mihiel, south of Verdun on 
the Meuse, not far from where you mention, and in that 
same deep valley, four old needles of limestone like those of 
chalk in the Isle of Wight, one called the Devil's Table (do 
you remember ?) ; they are composed of old remnants of the 
white crystalline limestone of highly inclined strata. They 
have three distinct horizontal lines of perforations like the 
columns of the Temple of Serapis, the hollows, sometimes 
empty, but thousands of them filled with the saxicavas, now. 
He has shown us some ; they go all round the Needles. The 
same are seen on the neighbouring precipice at similar 
heights. The shells get petrified in situ, and so are imperish- 
able ; species cannot be determined. You will at once 
draw all the consequences. All that the rive7- has done, is at 
best up to the highest mark of the alluvion. And here, in 
the middle of the continent, a.t such an elevation, we have 

VOL. I. X 

306 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

preserved the sides of an old frith, and proofs of the suc- 
cessive rise of the old rocks out of the sea, for they are worn 
by the wind and water mark at the three places perforated. 
Believe me, ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantbll, Esq. 

Paris : October 10, 1830. 
My dear Friend, — I find from Pentland you have had the 
disagreeable job of dunning Deshayes again. The Sieur 
D., as Murchison calls him, is undoubtedly one of the most 
' imperturbable ' characters in these respects I have met with, 
nor can I defend his conduct in this, and some other small 
matters. It does not, however, arise from anything dis- 
honourable in his conduct or intentions. He was, you must 
know, for ten years a medical man, in considerable practice 
for a beginner, in one of the unhealthy and therefore not 
well (or wealthy) inhabited quarters. He had about fifteen 
patients a day, who kept him constantly at work, and never 
paid. At last he determined to cut the affair, and try to live on 
natural history, which, although his passion, he had aban- 
doned. He has earned his bread with great difiSculty by writ- 
ing for encyclopaedias, &c., and spent every sixpence on very 
expensive works, on fossils and recent conchology, between 
SOL and 40/. worth, and on shells. Just as I obtained the 
crag shells from you and Taylor, Eozet, who has published a 
small work on Geology of no originality or value whatever, 
engaged him for five hundred francs to write a small concho- 
logical appendix, and this entirely prevented his doing any- 
thing for me. Had I known his situation, it would not have 
happened, but to tell the truth, his bearing was so indepen- 
dent, that I should as soon thought of asking Broderip to 
name my shells for argent comptant as Deshayes. Now I am 
better informed, I see that he is not justified in giving me a 
day without pay, for he has sacrificed his existence to make 
himself, for the benefit of science, the first fossil conchologist 
in Europe. I have now engaged three months -of his time, 
to enable him to teach me conchology, and to construct 

183a DES HAYES. 307 

tables, whicL. I liave planned for my second volume of tertiary 
shells, and to name all my Pyrenean specimens, &c. At the 
same time, I am enabling him to cut inferior work, and to 
use the same materials for a Manual of Conchology. It will 
make a deep cut into the small sum which Murray is to pay 
me for vol. ii., and will indeed consume all which the amanu- 
ensis and the extraordinary expenses had not eateu up, but I 
find already that it will pay me in the satisfaction of giving 
an essential push to our favourite science. Already the 
results of Deshayes' collection are yielding fruits unexpected 
by himself, and very confirmatory of the order of succession 
of tertiary formations which I had arrived at, from purely 
geological observations. The crag though probably older 
than almost all the tertiary formations of Sicily, is still a 
formation containing a decided preponderance of living 
species, and between it and the London clay you will see 
how magnificent a series of events I will describe. As your 
fossils could not be properly compared till we come to those 
genera, for I am going through the whole comparing with 
Deshayes, you must still let us keep them a little, but I will 
not leave Paris without them. Cuvier last night spoke with 
great pleasure of having made your acquaintance, and hopes 
you will visit Paris. He is not in spirits about political 
affairs, and consequently I got him for the first time to talk 
about fossil anatomy freely. Eemember I have heard no 
geological news for three months, save the dinner to Cuvier, 
and a note from Murchison saying that Conybeare had fired a 
shot at me in 'Annals of Phil.' What is that about P 
Politics absorb all the thoughts of geologists here. There 
are croakers enough about the state of Prance, but I see no 
ground for it, and I believe if left to themselves they will 
get on. To do without some odious taxes, with an increased 
army, and with commercial bankruptcies innumerable, is 
the difficulty for the moment. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

X 2 

308 S/I? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

To His Sisteu. 

Paris : October Ifl, 1830. 

My dear Caroline, — I must stay here a week or two more 
in order to make myself fully master of the details from 
which my great tables of shells are to be drawn up. I have 
gone through a great part of Deshayes' collection systemati- 
cally, following Lamarck. I had no idea that shells so 
studied could be so interesting, or that the arrangement was 
so philosophical, being founded on the animals which 
inhabit the shells. With an immense collection before you 
of recent and fossil shells (35,000 individuals and 8,500 
species), all well arranged in their natural groups, and with 
a clever conchologist at your elbow, you may in a short time 
make yourself master of more than I ever expected to know. 
I am determined to begin a collection in earnest, having 
already a fine start in aU my Italian and Sicilian shells now 
named, and in eight hundred named fossil species, which I 
have bought of Deshayes. No one in England has an idea 
of the results to be obtained from a good collection of fossils, 
or the value and accuracy of these medals when well 
collected, but I trust in ray next volume to make them know 
it. This morning all my Etna shells were examined ; out of 
sixty-three only three species not known to inhabit the 
Mediterranean, yet the whole volcano nearly is subsequent 
to them, and rests on them. They lived on a moderate 
computation 100,000 years ago, and after so many genera- 
tions are quite unchanged in form. It must therefore have 
required a good time for Ourang-Outangs to become men on 
Lam arckian principles . 

The night before last we were alarmed here by a mob, 
not for ourselves, but for the inmates of the Palais Eoyal, 
because they were quite unprepared, and the guard weak. 
The people think, as John Bull would have done under 
similar circumstances, that the proposal to abolish the 
punishment of death is prejudging the case of the ex-ministers, 
and many moderate lourgeois even are become violent 
against what they call a ruse. The lower class, who suffered 
most in the fight, look on the ex-ministers as their prisoners 


of war, and are exasperated at the notion of tlieir escaping 
scot-free. So thej came as they say, to serenade ' Le citoyen 
Philippe, proprietaire, No. 200, Rue St.-Honore.' Several 
thousand of them sung the Marseillaise and Paiisienne 
alternately, with such energy, that when two diligences 
came down our narrow street, and when we should hardly 
have heard a musket under the window, we heard every note. 
Anything but cannon would have been drowned. It was like 
the roar of several tempests bellowing in correct time. 
There was a ferocity in it that was more horrid than any- 
thing I ever could have conceived, yet we were six times the 
distance of the king's rooms. After keeping up this for 
three or four hours, there was a call of ' Vincennes,' the 
prison where the ex-ministers are. Instantly they all went 
ofi", rushing up all the side streets from the Rue St. Honore 
so fast, that we thought the cavalry were charging. Luckily 
the general at Yincennes was prepared for them, and they 
could do nothing. At half past two o'clock they returned 
here, and sung again. The first shout awoke us all like a 
clap of thunder in the dead of night. Since that, all is quiet, 
the national guard can be relied on, and are 80,000 strong. 
The king was a good deal alarmed, but acted with spirit and 
prudence, and no one fears now, and a reaction in favour of 
the king has been produced. A small mob last night, who 
collected there, went away cheering him, upon his coming 
out on foot, and saying ' that they should have justice, but 
not vengeance.' 

With my love to all, believe me, your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To G. PouLETT ScEOPB, EsQ., Castle Combe, Chippenham. 

9 Crown Office Eow, London : November 9, 1830. 

My dear Scrope, — I received several letters in Paris 
before I read your article congratulating me upon having 
fallen in with a critic who was capable of handling the 
subject in an able manner, ' and in whose review a fiiend's 
spirit pervaded the whole, though he finds objections to those 
parts most generally controverted.' Among others, I was 
delighted at Murchison having been taken in, and attribut- 


ing it to Sedgwick, wiioin he liad not then seen on his return. 
Perhaps you know that he idolises even more than the 
Cantabs ' the first of men,' as Adam is usually styled there, 
and although he really has talent enough to appreciate most 
fully the merits of a good thing when he reads it, yet the 
eulogy was somewhat more from the soul than might have 
been poured forth on one younger than himself, and who was 
neither entitled as president or Professor to show him the 
way. Murray, among others, wrote to say that the sale of 
the first three months before the ' Quarterly Review ' appeared 
was 650 copies, and he had no doubt that an article acknow- 
ledged ' to be at once masterly and popwiar,' would soon help 
them to dispose of many more. For myself, I assure you with- 
out reserve, that I am quite sure of, what I am sure will be the 
universal opinion, that it is incomparably the best thing you 
ever wrote, and in point of style as well as originality, a great 
stride beyond any former composition on a scientific subject. 
1 include those parts where you oppose me, even when I still 
differ very considerably. The suggestion that the Mediter- 
ranean would sink if separated from the oc^ean, is so self- 
evident when stated, yet so new, and opens such magnificent 
views, and explains so much, that it would have redeemed 
fifty pages of prosing. The explanation, which I had 
endeavoured to hit off in vain, of the sandbanks opposite the 
indentations in river channels, is so clear, that like most 
discoveries, all wiU wonder how they missed it. It is your 
own I conclude the attributing it to the momentum. These 
hints will enable me greatly to improve my second edition if 
I have one, as is expected. Such a broad-side will do far 
more than my book to sink the diluvialists, and in short all 
the theological sophists. Conybeare I am told has published 
in the ' Annals ' ' an explosion ' against m.e. I shall not 
answer it, but thank heaven he cannot turn the battery of 
the ' Quarterly Review ' against me now. Basil Hall at the 
first meeting of the Geographical last night, which I just 
cut into from the Dover coach, said to me, ' Well, I will tell 
you fairly, I did not think you could have written such a 
book.' And so, I know, almost all of our council will say of 
your article, but neithej^I nor Lockhart are of that mind, 
and I am gratified that you have by an anonymous article 


Surprised many with an admission of your capability of doing 
what I have frequently endeavoured in vain to assert you 
might do, when regretting that you had cut in some measure 
science, for political pamphlets. 

Murray ought to send you 70L for the good you have 
done the review,^ to say nothing of probable aid to his book. 
1 am going on now with vol. ii. It would sell, even if 
stupid (which it shall not be), so great is the excitement for 
and against, which vol. i. and your article have together 
caused. I am in all the mess of unpacking, so must con- 
clude, and with kind remembrance to Mrs. Scrope, believe me 
ever most truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To De. Fleming. 

9 Crown Office Eow, Temple, London : November 12, 1830. 

Dear Dr. Fleming, — I am just returned from Paris, 
where I spent five weeks, steadily applying myself to the 
study of recent and fossil conchology, in the rooms of M. 
Deshayes, whose collection contains 8,000. Although I have 
thus late entered in earnest on this branch, I hope some years 
hence to possess as fine a collection, and perhaps as much in- 
formation respecting it as any one here ; and I am building a 
cabinet and have purchased considerably in good tertiary shells. 
It might perhaps be agreeable to you, as it would be most 
serviceable to me, to exchange duplicates of French tertiaries 
for carboniferous fossils, and might induce you to collect 
these zealously. I shall always be ready to send you what 
you may wish in return in this way, as I know no point 
where so much has been done in this, as by you in Fife. 
Tour letter on my book was very kind, and at a time when 
in Paris, I could find no one whose mind was not occupied 
with politics, and when I had received no news of the pro- 
gress my book was making, it was most consoling. Every 
one agrees with you that the size of the volume and the 
type has been much against it, and Murray is of that opinion 
too. But as your friendly anticipations have been already 
realised, I shall be able to correct this, in a second edition, 
' Note by Mr. Scrope : 'He gave me 100?.'— G. P. S. 

312 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

at no distant period. It seems that, for the first three 
months, they sold fifty copies a week, and since that I have 
heard no bulletin, except that the demand is constant. 
Murray declared, that if I could give him vol. ii. in six 
months, before half the purchasers of the first had either 
forgotten it, lost it, gone abroad, died, &c., he was convinced 
that in twelve months from the present time not a single 
copy of either volume would be unsold. With this en- 
couragement I shall be glad to persevere, and benefit by 
any criticisms either in letters or in print, which you or 
others may come out with. 

It would be doing me a service, now that I am obliged 
to spend money on secondary fossils with hard-dealing 
merchants, if you would exchange them against books 
which you may want ; a proposition so common in France, 
and I think so fair between naturalists, who must make 
sacrifices, in order to form their libraries, that I propose it, 
sans cenhnonie, and it might justify you in seeking more 
keenly for Fife shells and corals, than you would otherwise 
feel disposed to do. Believe me, ever truly yours, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

London : November 14, 1830. 

My dear Marianne, — I have pretty good news to tell you 
about my volumes. . . . The booksellers assure me that if 
the latter part of my work is as popular and readable as the 
first, it wiU prove an annuity to me. Whewell of Cambridge 
has done me no small service by giving out at his University 
that I have discovered a new set of powers in Nature which 
might be termed ' Geological Dynamics.' He is head tutor 
at Trinity, and has more infiuence than any individual, 
unless it be Sedgmck. The young baronet ^ who franks this 
says that my new theory of deriving salt from inland seas, 
like the Mediterranean, went the round of the newspapers in 
his county (Cheshire) with great applause, as they felt a 
local interest in the explanation. He himself swears by it. 
He is very fond of conchology, and promises to send me 
' Sir Phillip de Malpas Grey Egerton. 


immediately a complete set of the N. of England freshwater 
shells. I have fixed on new rooms in Raymond Buildings, 
Gray's Inn ; very light, healthy, and good. I suppose in 
ten days I shall have shifted quarters. 

I shall send you soon some exceedingly entertaining 
German books, and hope when you find them likely to be 
useful, and make some progress, we may read them together 
in the spring, as soon as I have got rid of vol. ii. Lieutenant 
Graves is arrived, and has, at this most opportune moment, 
brought me several boxes of shells from S. America. I shall 
be in a bustle for ten days I fear, getting into my new 
rooms. They are on the same staircase as Broderip, whose 
library and great collection of recent shells, worth some 
thousand pounds, will enable me to dispense with laying out 
money, some of which would have been necessary otherwise. 
I shall also be very near Stokes. Brown the botanist has 
just given me some good information about a mummified 
Egyptian plant, and I am going to get a wood-cut executed. 
Several friends have asked me to dine out, and as I see I 
must make a firm stand, I have refused all, and shall only 
go to a club dinner once a week. There is scarcely any 
steering a middle course. All my friends who are in 
practice, do this all the year, and every year, and I do not 
see why I should not be privileged, now that I have a moral 
certainty of earning a small but honourable independence, if 
I labour as hard for the next ten years as during the last 
three. I never was in better health, rarely so good, and 
after so long a fallow, I feel that a good crop will be yielded, 
and that I am in good train for composition. How I wish 
we could be fellow-labourers ! Yesterday Milman the poet, 
whom I scarcely know, sent me a long and curious extract 
from a German book about some theory of the followers of 
Zoroaster, to help me for the second edition. I have sent 
for a translation from the Miss Somervilles. If you were 
near this smoky hole, which after mj' late stay in Paris, 
appears dirtier than ever, I would gratify your desire to be 
useful to its full extent, but since we are both pinned like 
shrubs to the spots we are planted in, we must be satisfied. 
I think I may be out in six months, poz ; Murray says five, 
but that I cannot. I am very confident that the matter iu 

314 s/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. xii. 

vol. ii. will be more generally popular than in vol. i. if I 
succeed in making as mucli of it as I see it admits of. I 
shall only go to the end of the tertiary period. It will 
include the history of the globe as far back as the time 
when the first of the existing species came in. If I have 
succeeded go well with inanimate matter, surely I shall 
make a lively thing when I have chiefly to talk of living 
beings ! 

I shall send the shuttlecocks and battledores, but don't 
quite wear them out in the winter, as I may be with you 
before out-door exercise is always within reach, if your 
account of ordinary springs be true. 

With love to all, your aifectionate brother, 

Chaeles Lyell. 





[Mr. Lyell made a tour of some weeks during tte summer of 
1831 to the Eifel, a volcanic district between the Rhine and Moselle 

He was appointed Professor of Geology in King's College, Lon- 
don, and gave a course of lectures in 1832 and 1833. After which, 
finding that the duties would interfere with his schemes of travelling 
and original research, he resigned the office. 

He was appointed Deputy-Lieutenant of the County of Forfar in 

To De. Fleming. 

2 Kaymond Buildings, Gray's Inn : February 7, 1831. 

My dear Dr. Pleming, — I hope you are proceeding suc- 
cessfully with your volume on organic remains, of which, 
now that I am writing on the secondary strata, I should be 
very glad. If you were printing it I should crave a sight 
of the sheets done, in order that I might benefit. We 
expect you will throw much light on the organic remains of 
the carboniferous era. I am finishing the last two chapters 
of a somewhat longer volume than that of which you have, I 
hope, received a copy from Kinnordy, and I mean to lecture 
from the slips, as far as that can be done, having magnified 
all the sections a hundredfold, which are to adorn my book. 

316 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xm. 

for the lecture-room. If tlie course of twelve lectures should 
prevent my being out with the volum.e before my marriage, 
iu other words, before a year or more, I shall sadly regret 
having accepted of the chair. But I hope to do both. The 
King's College is coming on gradually, the number of 
students having augmented by more than one-third, both in 
the junior and senior departments since Christmas, and 
promising to increase again in the same ratio at Easter 
next. Sedgwick wishes to make your fish scales a means of 
identifying his Caithness schists, and all their fish and the 
trionyx, with a member of the lowest ' old red.' I am sure 
I have no objection, for I would as lief start with vertebrated 
animals and freshwater, as with a universal ocean, and the 
simplest forins of animal life. Only I require rather more 
proof for identification than the Welsh Captain did, when he 
made out that his hero and Philip of Macedon were the 
same, ' for there is a river at Monmouth, and likewise also 
there is a river in Macedon, and there is salmon in both.' 
If the species of salmon and of plants could be proved to be 
' as like as my fingers to my fingers,' then I think it would 
do well enough. In one of your last letters you mention 
having reptiles from the carboniferous era in Scotland — this 
is delightful news to me. I expect to prove that there are 
three distinct mammifers in Stonesfield slate. Vernon admits 
that his single saurian vertebra was only in alluvium, but 
that alluvium entirely composed of mountain limestone. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Chaeles Lyell. 

To GiDEOJT Mantell, Esq. 

March, 1831. 
My dear Mantell, — I have been within this last week 
talked of and invited to be professor of geology at King's 
CoUege, an appointment in the hands entirely of the Bishop 
of London, Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of Llandaff, 
and two strictly orthodox doctors, D'Oyley and Lonsdale. 
Llandaff alone demurred, but as Conybeare sent him (volun- 
teered) a declaration most warm and cordial in favour of me, 
as safe and orthodox, he must give in, or be in a minority of 
one. The prelates declared ' that they considered some of 


my doctrines startling enough, but could not find that thej^ 
were come by otherwise than in a straightforward manner, 
and (as T appeared to think) logically deducible from the 
facts, so that whether the facts were true or not, or my 
conclusions logical or otherwise, there was no reason to 
infer that I had made my theory from any hostile feeling 
towards revelation.' Such were nearly their words, yet 
Teatherstonhaugh tells Murchison in a letter, that in the 
United States he should hardly dare in a review to approve 
of my doctrines, such a storm would the orthodox raise 
against him ! So much for toleration of Church Establish- 
ment and no Church Establishment countries. It is, how- 
ever, merely a proof of the comparative degree of scientific 
knowledge diffused. Pray be so kind as to give me the 
earthquakes. A shock in Sicily which threw down Melazzo, 
seems to have occurred nearly on, if not on the same day as 
Dover. Another just announced in China has killed, they 
say, a million of men, all in favour of modern causes ; — it is an 
ill wind, &c. The young Prince George of Cumberland told 
me the other day of you and the great lizard, which last has 
taken much hold of his imagination. 'Tis clear, as Aber- 
nethy said, you will ride on that beast. Don't throw away 
any great big specimens, for if I lecture, I shall be as greedy 
for them as I have hitherto been shy of them. I will get a 
scene-painter to put Etna and Auvergne on scenes as large 
as in a theatre, on canvas, from Scrope's and my sketches. 
Scrope writes, ' If the news be true, and your opinions are to be 
taken at once into the bosom of the Church, instead of con- 
tending against that party for half a century, then, indeed, 
shall we make a step at once of fifty years in the science — 
in such a miracle will I believe when I see it performed.' 

Ever yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

London : April 7, 1831. 

My dear Marianne, — I almost forget where you are in 
regard to my affair of the chair, but I think I said I had 
indited an epistle to Bishop Copleston (the minority of 

318 SIJ? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

one) to tell him among otlier pleasant news, that I meant to 
do my best to show in volume ii. that no deluge has swamped 
Europe within 4,000 (I might have said 40,000) years. On 
his other points I was fully agreed with him, and on this I 
told him I had no objection to his drowning as many people 
as he pleased on such parts as can be shown to have been 
inhabited in the days of Noah. In his answer he thanked 
me for my candid statement. Although some of my friends 
assure me I shall lose by this concern, I do not ; and most 
of them agree with me that it places a man who wishes to 
devote himself steadily to a branch of a science, in a much 
more agreeable, influential, and respectable situation, and it 
is not like taking orders, a step without a retreat. 

Conybeare has taken his last shot at me. Daubeny has 
fired off one at me, in a timid sort of a discharge, and full of 
puffs about ' Oxford being proud of me, though I am not of 
the Oxford school of Geology.' Sedgwick's attack is the 
severest, and I shall put forth my strength against him in 
volume ii. 

Tour affectionate brother, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

AthenEeum, London : June 22, 1831. 

My dear Mantell, — I take the largest sheet I see near 
me at the Athenseum to write an apology for my remissness. 
A visit to Cambridge of a week with Buckland, Conybeare, 
Daubeny, and other Oxonians, who were returning a visit 
which the Cantabs made to them, was the first cause of 

We were lionised with a vengeance — lectures, experi- 
ments (optics, polarisation), feasting, geologising, and evening- 
party going, and nocturnal smoking and cigars, and by way 
of finale, Conybeare and I took our nd eundem degrees, and 
were admitted M.A.s of Cambridge. Then came an arrear 
of work here, and my father and brother in turn gave me 
lots of interruption, notwithstanding all which, as also much 
lionising of Conybeare, who wanted to be introduced to 
divers persons, I have reached p. 110 of printing volume ii. 


The four great slabs are two of them worth nothing, but the 
other two are as magnificent specimens of the forms of 
ripple as I ever saw. Many thanks. Murchison and his 
wife are gone to make a tour in Wales, where a certain 
Trimmer has found near Snowdon * crag ' shells at the 
height of 1,000 feet, which Buckland and he convey thither 
by the deluge. 

Ton heard of Fitton's accident ? Changing his residence 
as usual ; going from his country seat near Sevenoaks to a 
new place eleven' miles north of town, taking a maid-servaiit 
to Harley Street in a gig, horse ran away in Eegent's Park, 
dashed against a gate. Fitton's arm said to be broken high 
up, but Brodie can't make out where ; feared that the blade- 
bone was injured, but hopes not, as Dr. F. is doing so well. 
Lonsdale says that the great femur of which Trotter has 
given us a cast, was of an animal that had paddles. What 
is the largest paddle-bone you have ? No room to talk of 
age of reptiles. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Chaelbs Ltell. 


[Extracts from letters and journal to Miss Horner, eldest davighter 
of Mr. Leonard Horner, to -whom he was engaged, and who was with 
her family at Bonn on the Rhine.] 

Botterdam : August 4, 1831. 

My dearest Mary, — I tried, as soon as the steamer passed 
Bonn, to compose my thoughts by steadily reading Mac- 
culloch's vol. ii., and succeeded tolerably, till I landed at 
Cologne, and then walked to the Cathedral. It vv'as eleven 
years since I had been in it, with my father, on our way to 
Italy. I remember well the splendid painted windows, and 
that singular semicircular aisle behind the altar. Although 
there is no such architecture in Italy, this gigantic frag- 
ment of a church reminds me of Italy. There is nothing 
there so striking as the innumerable monuments of the 
designs of architects and priests, which outran all reasonable 


CHAP. xiir. 

calculation of means. It is rare to see an Italian cliurch 
finished. But I suppose if Catholicism had remained in 
full force five centuries more, Cologne would have been 
finished, for the secret of our own grand gothic buildings 
having been finished, was their having been added to, during 
many successive centuries, by ' corporations that never died.' 
After I had left the Cathedral I heard a bell begin to toll, 
the finest bound I thought I had ever heard. I returned, 
and found about sixteen men or more pulling at one rope in 
the great tower, or to as many strings attached to one main 
rope. This huge bell, they told me, was only rung on a few 
occasions in the course of the year, not on Sundays and 
ordinary fite days. This was the eve of the King's birthday. 
They say it is the finest bell in Germany. I was never 
so much struck with any, even at Rome. I waited a 
quarter of an hour to hear it in the great tower, ' swinging 
slovv with sullen roar,' and then tried to find my way to the 
town hall, but lost it ; fortunately, for I blundered on a 
street where I saw a mark in a stone of a great flood of the 
Rhine in February 7, 1784, when its waters were seven or 
eight feet higher than they have ever been since. I cannot 
understand this, since in February there could not have 
been a great melting of Alpine snows, but that for half a 
century since, nothing like such a flood has occurred, is a 
good fact ; the effects of rare combinations of the most 
ordinary causes, are scarcely ever reckoned upon enough in 
geology, and I could preach for a page on this text, if I did 
not fear I should put you to sleep. We have had to-day the 
certain news of the Prince of Orange having entered the 
Antwerp territory, and so many stories of that city having 
been attacked, that I fear something must have happened. 
As the Dutch have the best organised army, and are more 
imited, I think they do well to show a little spirit, and 
unless a general war comes on, they will get better terms 
by it. Here the war is popular, and the going out and 
return home of the regiment quartered here, to exercise, is 
quite a triumphal procession, morning and evening. Tell 
your mother, with my love, if she finds her thoughts 
fatigue her, I recommend her to read, if she can get it, 
Madame de Stael's chapter on the efficacy of study in such 

1 83 1. PAGAN INI. 321 

cases to calm the mind. It is in lier work, ' L'Influence des 
Passions sur le Bonlieur des Nations et des Individus,' one of 
the most splendid productions of the age. The sun has just 
made an effort to break through the clouds, so we shall have 
no rain I think. 

August 7. — Sent my Rotterdam-arranged MS. to 
feed the hungry devils, and corrected a sheet and a half of 
text, of that set up in my absence, the fruit of three hours' 
hard, steady work, aided by my steam-engine Hall, for in 
this stage of the business more than half of the work is 
mechanical. I hope to receive from the binder my old 
copy of the work of De Stael, of which I spoke, that you 
may have it. Be careful not to erase my marks. I shall 
re-read it with delight ; it is the work of a mind which had 
been agitated strongly by almost every passion, which had 
felt intensely, and therefore wrote eloquently — her rules and 
precepts are often inexplicable to ordinary affairs and com- 
mon minds, but it is a splendid production. I recollect the 
chapter on study (though I have forgotten its details) made 
a lasting impression on me, and taught me among other 
things to take delight when engaged in composition, in im- 
proving, enriching, and embellishing thoughts, instead of 
deeming that drudgery ; just as an artist retouches a paint- 
ing. My copy of De Stael is just returned ; I have been 
dipping into it. It is the more striking as being so exagge- 
rated. The balance against the chances of happiness in 
many of the most natural and best passions, is not so un- 
favourable as she paints it, but such would the woi-ld be 
if all were as romantic, sensitive, and imaginative as she 

August 11. —Went to Paganini's concert, Prandi having 
sent me a ticket. Paganini can play both beautifully and 
wonderfully, but I would rather have half an opera another 
time, than all his performance. 

August 12. — Boue, the French geologist, called, just 
arrived with his wife from Paris. Am to see him again to- 
morrow, and to show him my Sicilian volcanic specimens. 
At Athenseum saw with pleasure that the Dutch had routed 
the Belgians. 

August 13. — Before I go to rest, a few words of a day of 

VOL. I. Y 

322 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

steady work, and few incidents — wrote to Mantell, dispatched 
nearly half the printed Tables to Deshayes — walked over 
the rooms at King's College, which promise to be handsome 
and well lighted. Found the table of Athenseum this 
evening covered with new books — in this respect a club 
is a real economy — Whately's new lectures on Political 
Economy. In the first of those which I skimmed, is a long 
combat against those who object to the Eev. Professor's 
science, as opposed to the Bible. He says that the cry is 
louder 'than against geology,' because people will admit 
that the sacred writings were not to teach us physics, but 
say that a science connected with human concerns should 
be in accordance even with the letter. 

Aiigust 14. — Webster brought the corrected drawinij 
from my sketch of the Val del Bove on Etna, one of the 
grandest scenes in Europe. Although a poor representation, 
it will give some idea, and be useful geologically ; I shall go 
to Chelsea, and hope to find the Somervilles.' Arrived at 
five o'clock, and found that dinner was at seven : was lucky 
enough to find Mrs. Somerville in the garden, told her of 
my expedition to Eifel, &c. She showed me her volume,^ 
all done save the index. The preliminary discourse will be 
popular, dedicated to Lord Brougham, as he suggested it ; 
no word of flattery to him. The Murchisons have been stay- 
ing with the Conybeares in Wales, which country, said Dr. 
Somerville, ' they have now done.' 

August 16. — Mrs. Somerville said yesterday that she 
never knew politics in London so embitter people as in 
t lis Reform Bill : the fact is there never were such private 
interests at stake before. Eew bills for the confiscation of 
property ever passed in any country which smote individuals 
so hard. When a man has several brace of borough appoint- 

' Mrs. Somerville, b. 1780, d. 1872. Author of Mechamism of the Heavens, 
from La Place; Cimnection of the Physical Sciences, Physical Geography , &c. 

^ Mechanism of the Hearens. ' Mrs. SomerviUe's volame is ready all but 
the index. The preliminary discourse into which I dipped will be popular and 
of high interest ; it touches on all the grandest subjects. Speculations, for 
example, on cavernous structure of the interior of the earth ; what the total 
number of comets may be ; what the climate of other planets, and in which of 
them our plants, &.C., could live. How the sun and other bodies look from 
each of them, and an immense variety of other topics.' — Extract of letter from 
Mr. Lyell to his father, August 15, 1831. 

1 83 1. REFORM BILL. 323 

ments, each wortli forty or fifty thousand pounds in the 
market a year ago, he may well cry out, and may easily 
persuade himself that the good derivable to the country is 
problematical. The Liberals say that the cutting up coun- 
ties will make each district a close borough, and so a 
new aristocratical influence, as bad as the old, will arise. I 
doubt whether it will be as bad, but the new House will be 
aristocratical enough. A letter from my mother to-day an- 
nounces her recovery. She is going up to the hills, to a shoot- 
ing quarter of ours. Some day or other, we will go up to 
that shieling in the midst of the heather, where there is a 
fine air, and where many a time I have enjoyed the glorious 
view of the Grampians on one side, and on the other of 
Strathmore and its lakes, with the Sidlaws and the Lomonds 
of rife in the distance. Although the game was scarce, I 
used to like it betcer than Lord Airlie's preserves, as he 
has no scenery, though thirty brace for one bird on our 

August 17. — The best day's work, at least the greatest 
number of hours at composition since Rotterdam — it will 
require a multitude more, before I have done this volume. 
The facts which are given in a few sentences, require weeks 
of reading to obtain. A letter from- my aunt Heathcote, 
one of the most amiable creatures in existence, and moreover 
an elegant style of person, inviting me to pay her a visit. 
How lucky that the very day I got it, she must have received 
mine to say I meant to come ! Lonsdale has just told me 
that one of the principal reviews, as he heard from Pitton, 
has just held up Sedgwick's speech, and my first volume, as 
models of style for all English scientific writers. I must 
learn where this is, for as Messieurs les Critiques give one 
some hard rubs, it is fair to seek out their commendations. 
It is a reward for doing a thing with care. Did not Miss 
Parker ^ remark that the gravel of the Eotherberg was as free 
from scorise and volcanic rocks as that above Friesdorf? 
What are volcanic rocks ? she would say. I answer. Any of 
those which the said Eotherberg in general, or Rolandsec k, 
are made of. Webster tells me, he spends all his time in 

' For seven years the valued friend and governess in Mr. Horner's familj'. 

T 2 



teacking ladies geology, and remarks that they have more 
liberal curiosity about science than young men. The fact is 
•our boys are worse educated now than girls ; they spend ten 
years and more at school and college, in learning Latin and 
Greek ; two weapons which nine out of ten never use. They 
are mere linguists of dead tongues — they get learning with- 
out 'knowledge, and without the taste of acquiring a know- 
ledge of things. A system which would make our youths 
not scholars, but lovers of knowledge, would be a grand 
reform. It would be easy, for it is natural in youth to 
love it. 

August 23. — Made good progress in my MS. I forget 
whether I told you that Mrs. Somerville's book was shown 
me in boards, but without the index, at least a hundred 
pages longer than my first volume, and about the same 
dimensions in other respects. Mine even was deemed too 
corpulent, as well as having too much crowded into a page, 
which in the second volume we mean to correct, though 
■using the same type. About 500 pages of Mrs. S. is alge- 
braic, a-, y, z, and sealed save to those deeply initiated. The 
introductory hundred will be popular, and I trust serve as 
sails and winds to waft the heavy cargo on through these un- 
promising times. While I was working here at four o'clock 
Lord Northampton came in, and sat cozing three quarters 
of an hour, about fossil insects, shells, and how he should 
vote on the Eeform Bill. After supporting second reading 
he is to go to Rome, and not leave his proxy. ' They will 
alter it so that I cannot say what the third reading will be, 
and I am not a thick and thin man that can trust another 
with my vote.' I have just received your letter. Do not 
suppose that my marks of Madame de Stael's sentiments are 
always of approbation — they are like the hear, hear, of M.P.s 
of something which strikes, often as true, often untrue, or 
doubtful. I look upon her as a phenomenon— a giantess 
almost 1 ivalling any male giant of her age. Her imagination 
was vivid and poetic, and tempered by judgment, and she 
had a philosophical mind also. Had she written first-rate 
poetry, she would have shown that the very best power of 
mind which can be developed in man may belong to her sex 
— which nevertheless would be unfair, since they have many 

1831. MADAME DE STAEL. 325 

excellences wliicli men cannot have. I think her work the 
more interesting, as showing how a powerful mind, placed 
under the circumstances that a woman's must be, would 
think and write. Hereafter her writings will stand out in 
relief more prominently, among those of her contemporaries,, 
than they do now ; very few as boldly, and this is saying 
much, when the general standard is so high, and so many 
minds are highly cultivated. But when an equally great 
vigour of genius is given to some woman, who has more of 
the perfect qualities, the peculiar attributes of her sex, we 
shall have something more splendid and characteristic and 
original. Like most great characters, she was a mixture of 
good and bad. From much that I have heard of her, I can 
believe her speech about her daughter, that she was heta 
comme son pere, although her husband was much above par, 
and if he had not been, she would have fancied it, had she 
been amiable. But her extravagant admiration of her 
father, whom she overrated, in a great degree from filial 
feeling, was a redeeming quality — as regards feeling, what 
in this case overpowered her better judgment. Had our friend 
Mrs. Somerville been married to La Place, or some mathe- 
matician, we should never have heard of her work. She 
would have merged it in her husband's, and passed it off as 
his. Not so De Stael, she would have been a jealous rival. 
What she says of Nature never having given great talents, 
without accompanying the gift with a love of displaying- 
them — a desire to make them tell — is most true, but much 
that she says of the incompatibility of even moderate ambi- 
tion and love, is false and curious only, as showing that she 
had found her desire of fame to be that of one placed in a false 
position. A man may desire fame, reputation, and even 
glory, for the sake of sharing it with one he loves. A woman 
cannot share it with her husband, it will be the utmost she 
can do not to make him of less importance by it. I am 
sure that it is very common in ambitious men to look upon 
whatever they acquire, whether of fortune or fame, as 
chiefly valuable for the sake of others. I could, and should 
feel this ; for a wife, children, brothers and sisters, that the 
sharing it, constituted its chief and almost only value — that 
the mere personal aggrandisement was of itself a shallow 

0-26 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

pleasure. As for love being- an episode, &e., it is true both 
to man and woman in the sense of that romantic sort of 
love which the Authoress of ' Corinne ' would try to persuade 
herself should run through life, but what never could nor 
ought to do, or to be more than an episode in any person's 
life — but speaking of love in a more sober sense, I do not 
believe it, and could point out proofs ot the contrary. 

To reap the full benefit of what the Germans are doing 
and thinking would require no moderate iutimacy with the 
tongue, and its idioms. I am sure you will work at it with 
more zeal if you believe you can help me by it, as I labour 
with greater spirit, now that I regard myself as employed 
for you as well as for myself. Not that I am at all sanguine 
about the pecuniary profits that I shall ever reap, but I feel 
that if I could have fair play for the next ten years, I could 
gain a reputation that would make a moderate income for 
the latter part of my life, yield me a command of society, 
and a respect that would entitle me to rest a little ou my 
oars, and enable me to help somewhat those I love. I met 
Smith, r.R.S., to-day, coming to ask me to join Wallich the 
botanist and Sir Eobert Inglis at R.S. club dinner. Smith 
poured out, ' I am in the middle, and full of astonishment 
and admiration at your having, among other things, been 
the first to take the bull by the horns, about the antiquity 
of the Earth, and contrived to do it in so inoffensive a 
waj',' &c. 

August 26. — The Chevalier Eicasoli came in to receive 
the second packet of Tables, which he is to take to Deshayes 
to Paris. He caught sight of my plate, intended for a fron- 
tispiece, — from a sketch of my own, a view in Catalonia m 
Spain, the volcanos of Olot. Prandi ■* was delighted. ' Ah ! 
that is Olot indeed. Well I fought there for thirteen days, 
live were we encamped on that hill by that church ; and so 
the hollow was the crater, and the cone a volcano. How 
odd, I never dreamt of that ! at its foot we killed 400 of the 
factions ! but from that hill (another volcano), as we passed 
to enter that valley, a discharge of shot thinned our ranks. 
We could not return it with any effect, we were on that flat 
plain, and on the slant of the cone, concealed in the vines. 
•" An Italian refugee, who resided many years in London. 


There is the defile, through which Milano brought his troops 
from Gerona, and this is Olot, with its villanous population, 
of 80,000, all factions.' ' What do you mean hj factions?' 
' Why those were the times of the established constitution, 
they were rebels, now the legitimates.' 

August 27. — An hour and a half good work before break- 
fast, ditto after, then Hall reading De la Beche, while I 
shaved, half hour's recreation. At one o'clock walked, met 
Judge Patteson, a ooze with him. Called on Spiller, 
librarian of the House of Commons. Davies Gilbert in the 
library, very curious to hear about the Eifel volcanos and 
the gravel of Rotherberg. Stepped into a neighbouring cafe 
and took a cup of coffee ; on the table was the ' Westminster 
Review ' — read a splendid extract from Napier's ' Peninsular 
War.' It must be a noble work. One day last spring, when 
I called on Sedgwick, he read me a whole chapter of his 
friend's book, an animated and graphic sketch of a skirmish 
in Portugal. Scott in his best historical novels never made 
you more completely present on the spot. Returned, and 
worked two hours ; have made great way to-day, and yet a 
day of much enjoyment withal ; seven hours' work, and quite 
fresh. I shall take a walk to the Athenaeum. Is it not 
strange, after what I have said above, that at the Athenseum 
the first man I sat down beside was Colonel Napier ? ^ I was 
struck with his conversation, addressed to Stokes, and on 
asking who he was, found it was he whose third volume I 
had been admiring; a fine-looking man to boot. Stokes 
showed him a five-franc piece of Henry V., for the Bourbons 
are carrying on a parody on the exiled Stewarts to the last. 
There are coins which Stokes has of Henry Ninth, King of 
England. Did you ever see Stokes's toy of the man whose 
head you can cut through with a penknife ? Napier 
remarked, ' In these times such a gift would serve a king 
better than such dollars.' In the library found Greeuough 
and Decimus Burton. Greenough turned up to a note he 
had made on the Rotherberg in 1816. It struck him in every 
respect as it did me — no trap in the gravel, which therefore 
is not posterior. He speaks of a section by the walnut-tree 
near the farm-house in the crater, which I missed. 
5 Sir William Napier, K.C.B. 

328 SIJ^ CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

To De. Fleming. 

London : August 29, 1831. 

My dear Dr. Fleming, — I was very glad to hear from 
you, on my return from a tour of four or five weeks to the 
Eifel, that tract between the Ehine and Moselle, in which 
abundance of extinct volcanos have burst thi'ough a country 
which is composed of strata much like the Sidlaw (where it 
is free from trap), the same sandstone and shale, and similar 
fucoidal plants, connected in some few parts with trilobite 
limestone, and with genuine old coal. Through these the 
supra-marine volcanos burst, and strange holes have thus 
blown through the mountains, each eruption having been 
almost invariably at some new point. I daresay you may 
have heard of a certain case of diluvium of the Rotherberg, 
i.e. gravel on one side of the crater of one of these modern 
(tertiary) volcanos. The fact is, it proves nothing as to the 
post-dihivial, or rather post-alluvial origin of that volcano. 
The gravel was there before the eruption, and contains no 
volcanic matter. I never saw so clear a case, and it is one 
of ten thousand proofs of the incubus that the Mosaic deluge 
has been, and is I fear long destined to be on our science. 
Now I am fully determined to open my strongest fire against 
the new diluvial theory of swamping our continents by waves 
raised by paroxysmal earthquakes. I can prove by reference 
to cones (hundreds of uninjured cones), of loose volcanic 
scoriae and ashes, of various and some of great antiquity (as 
proved by associated organic remains), that no such general 
waves have swept over Europe during the tertiary era — cones 
at almost every height from near the sea, to thousands of 
feet above it. I mean when lamenting the rash introduction 
of such hypothetical agency, to hint a,t the unfairness of gain- 
ing votes for new ' guesses ' by the temptation of a promise 
to explain the Mosaic deluge, if they will consent to adopt 
these new views. 

At the same time, I intend to aUude to the debt due to 
1/OM, for having been the first who had the courage to main- 
tain the untenable notion of a non-exploded dogma, and of 
having faced the obloquy which others are at this day no 
longer in danger of sharing. 

1831. GRAHAM ISLAND. 329 

I don't lecture till April, and unless I see the Institution 
promising very well, shall only give a very short course of 
nine lectures at the most, on a branch of the subject. Some 
of my friends think it was a foolish fancy. Others, with 
Whewell, that it will serve ' to give an anchorage to my 
thoughts, and keep me more steadily to our great subject.' 

Eemember me kindly to Mrs. Fleming, and believe me, 
ever most truly yours, 

Chables Ltell. 

To G. Mantell, Esq. 

London, August 30, 1831. 

My dear Mantell, — I hope you got my letter after my 
return from Germany ? Since that I have been detained here 
much longer than I expected, and am now on my way to 
Scotland ; first to Edinburgh, then to Forfarshire. I wish 
much to hear from you, as your silence has made me uneasy. 
Write to me here, and your letters will be forwarded free to 
me wherever I may happen to be at the time in the country. 
Barrow has sent me a bos of specimens from the new island '' 
thrown up off Sicily in a spot where I did not at all look for 
a submarine eruption, but am nevertheless well satisfied 
therewith. Chocolate-coloured sands and scorise of the same 
hue. The 'Britannia' man-of-war passed over the spot 
some months ago, and feeling her bottom struck a.s if by a 
rock (slight earthquake), she sounded, and found eighty 
fathoms. Now the isle is 200 feet above water, and is still 
growing. Here is a hill 680 feet with hope of more, and the 
probability of much having been done before the ' Britannia ' 
sounded. I congratulate you, one of the first of my twelve 
apostles, at Nature having in so come-at-able a part of the 
Mediterranean thus testified her approbation of the 
advocates of modern causes. Was the cross which Constan- 
tine saw in the heavens a more clear indication of the 
approaching conversion of a wavering world? moi-e especially 
as the first box of specimens from the new isle came through 
the post office by the Mediterranean steam packet, and was 

' Graham Island, which rose August 1831 in the Mediterranean, and 
towards the close of October was nearly levelled with the surface of the sea. 

;^30 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

presented by Barrow to me before be had opened them 
himself, eight or nine days after they had been thrown up 
hissing hot. 

Ever most truly yours, 

Charles Lyell. 

To Miss Hoenee. 

steamboat 'Soho,' Orford Ness : September 1, 1831. 

I have beenproBtably employed this morning since break- 
fast in reading Conybeare's last little work, and several 
chapters of Omalius d'Halloy's new ' Elements of Geology.' 
What a proof of the interest now excited by the science, 
that since my first volume appeared we have three works, 
MaccuUoch, two volumes, De la Beche, and this, on Geology, 
besides innnraerable memoirs ! 

ib'eptemberS. — ' Soho,' ofiFBass Rock, three o'clock. We are 
at last in ealmish water again in the Eorth after a rough, rainy, 
and very slow passage, against a north wind. All ill, and I 
was obliged to lie in my bed nearly all day yesterday. I had 
an agreeable compliment paid me in conversation, which 1 
overheard. One of the party was describing the washing away 
of the small portof Carse on the Solway Firth, near Dumfries ; 
which led another to say, ' Have yoii read Lyell's account of 
the ravages of the sea of the E. and S.E. coast of England? ' 
To which a blind old talkative gentleman, who I learnt was 
a Dr. Milligan, replied, ' I have ; it's by far the first work on 
that science, and the writer, ye ken, is a countryman of ours.' 
On the score of his being aware of the latter circumstance, I 
deduct one half from the value of the eulogium, and am 
satisfied with the remainder. 

Edinburgh : September 4. — 1 have just ten minutes to 
spare, before dining in Charlotte Square, and I doubt not 
j-ou will like to hear all that passes between me and your 
old friends. Macbean took me to call on Mr. Thomson,' with 
whom I was much pleased. He told me he had heard 
Chalmers ' preach, and make a somewhat wire-drawn dis- 

' Thomas Thomson, advocate. ' Formidable in dignity and in antiquarian 
learning.' — Lord Cockhurn's Jlemorials. 
" The celebrated Scotch divine. 

1831. DR. CHALMERS. 331 

tinction between an ungodly man and a sinner. ' Wonder 
what he would make of an ungodlj^ sinner ? ' said I. Finding 
the celebrated preacher was to perform service in the after- 
noon, I determined to go. I went to the kirk, and for a 
shilling got an excellent place, which is a great point, as 
there are many words in Chalmers' sentences which one may 
miss if not very near. I have a great prejudice against 
popular preachers in general, and almost all I have heard 
have strengthened my original impressions. But not so in 
this instance. It was a very long discourse, but admirable. 
The subject was ' repentance,' a hackneyed one enough. You 
are to repent to-day, not because it may be too late to-morrow, 
as you may die ; but because, though you are to have ever so 
long a life, your case will be more hopeless should you resist 
this warning. Tour mind will be hardened by the habit of 
resisting. He then explained the effect of habit, and its 
increasing power over the mind, as a law of our nature, with 
as much clearness and as philosophically as he could have 
done had he been explaining the doctrine to a class of 
university students in a lecture on the philosophy of the 
human mind. But then the practical application was enforced 
by a strain of real eloquence, of a very energetic, natural, and 
striking description. I hardly think any critic could have 
detected any expression or image that sinned against good 
taste, although he was very bold and figurative. But un- 
fortunately, every here and there he seemed to feel that he 
was sinning against some of the Calvinistic doctrines of his 
school, and all at once there was some dexterous pleading 
about ' original sin,' which interfered a little with the free 
current of the discourse, and gave me an idea, that in order 
to be popular with a Scotch congregation, a preacher must 
deal a good deal too much in tne unintelligible doctrinal 
points of theology. Upon the whole, however, judging from 
this single specimen, I think I would sooner hear him again 
than any preacher I ever heard, Eegiuald Heber not 

September 5. — When I got to Mr. Maitland's this morning, 
I found him with an excellent newspaper account of the new 
volcano in the Mediterranean, prepared for me to read. 

332 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

The Solicitor' did not arrive till half-past eight o'clock. 
You would have been amused vrith the first interview. 
Maitland, having been employed to draw up for the new 
Reform Bill the boundaries of the borough of Musselboro', 
was showing his map to me ; so when he introduced me, 
Cockburngave me a moderately good reception, a bow, and, if 
I remember right, a shake of the hand. We all began to 
move to the breakfast room, when the Solicitor exclaimed 
(the first sentence I heard from him), ' Is it Mr. Lyell ? 

Lord ! I thought it was some d d surveyor come about 

your map.' Then he shook my hand in right good earnest. 
On my telling Cockburn how much I was struck with 
Chalmers, he gave me a most favourable sketch of his various 
acquirements, private character, &c., and said that Chalmers 
was now studying so hard, that he had told him (the 
Solicitor) that he had been idle all his life before. On my 
observing that I could not agree with Macbean, in wonder- 
ing at the small number of successful popular preachers, 
because they had such trammels to contend with in the pul- 
pit, so many religious dogmas to steer clear of, &c., Cockburn 
said, ' Besides, how many of the most popular weapons of 
oratory are utterly prohibited — sarcasm, irony, ridicule ! ' I 
agreed to go to Bonaly ' to-morrow. I then sat down, and 
took a good hour and a half's work at composition of the 
MS. chapter of my second volume, which I left off at in town. 
I delight in thus making the business of acquaintance-making 
and calling on people the mere recreation necessary between 
hours of work. After this set-to, I found, thanks to the 
lawyers' early hours here, that it was only twelve o'clock. 
Called on T, Allen, not in town, then at Jamieson's. I then 
went to Hibbert's, at home, glad of it, as I wanted a good 
confab about the Eifel, to which he had laid a six months' 
siege, whereas I had only attempted to take it by storm in as 
many days. 

Kinnordy ; September 8.— On my arrival here, I found 
every one quite well, and two letters from you. Mrs. Hibbert's 

° Solicitor-General for Scotland, afterwards Lord Cockburn, author of Life 
cf Jeffrey, Memorials of Ms Time, an old and valued friend of Miss Horner's 

' Lord Cockburn's country-seat near the Pentland Hills, Edinburgh. 

1831. EDINBURGH. 333 

drawings of the Eifel are really splendid, most of them worth 
publishing, yet when she began the tour, she had hardly at- 
tempted to sketch from nature. She has caught that style of 
Scrope which gives you a sort of map-picture of a country, a 
half panorama taken from high points. A view, for example, 
from a hill looking down upon the Laacher See, and taking in 
the whole lake, and the hills surrounding it, and part of the 
adjoining country. Never having heard of that beautiful 
map which Von Oeynhausen lent uie, they lost much time in 
constructing a map, which Hibbert did trigonometrically. 
They have really collected both rocks axad shells, a.nd worked 
and sketched to great effect. In the " loess ' descending 
from Kruft to Andernach, they found a vast number of land 
shells, which seem to indicate a modern date to that forma- 
tion. About nine o'clock Dr. Greville ^ came in, and insisted 
on my breakfasting next morning, promising as a bribe that 
he would get ready, if I came, a drawing of the new volcano 
in the Mediterranean, copied from one an ofiScer has sent 
him, as a present for the ' Sky Parlour ' ' here. At ten 
o'clock I went to Mr. Thomson's — a capital supper — grouse, 
&c., and all good things, and the guests just sitting down as 
I entered — Mr. Maitland, Professor Napier,'' Professor Pillans,* 
and one or two more. Pillans has been with a friend alons: 
our Angus coast, geologising in an amateur way for his 
health. Next morning early I went to call on Maclaren, 
that furious radical as Editor of ' Scotsman,' and a mild, 
amiable, simple-minded man in pirivate, and a great reader 
and lover of geology. Greville's drawing of the volcano was 
quite beautiful — his talent of rapid drawing and colouring 
is truly enviable. Hibbert was there, and quite delighted 
with a piece of antiquarian geology which T. Thomson had 
given me at supper. He has fished out an old Latin legend, 
I believe in Pinkerton's ' Lives of the Saints,' of St. Niniano 
(or St. Ringen in corrupt English), evidently founded on those 
impressions of the feet of animals which have recently made 
such a noise in the geological world, preserved in the Dum- 

^ Botanist, author of Cryptogamic Flora, &c. 
' Museum at Kinnordy. 

' Macvey Napier, editor of Edinburgh Meview. 
5 Professor of Humanity Chair in Edinburgh. 

334 sm CHARLES LYELL. CHAP. xni. 

friesshire red sandstone. The saint had collected all the 
cattle of that country, to sprinkle them with holy water and 
bless them. A thief thought it a good opportunity to steal 
a few, but a bull ran at him and kicked him dead, and the 
saint softened the rocks, so that like wax they received every 
impression of the furious animal's hoofs as he plunged about, 
and then they were hardened in attestation of the miracle. 
Hibbert offered to show me a gun of the Spanish Armada, 
encrusted with shells, fished up from the sea, and other 
antiquarian remains, bearing on a chapter I was then writing, 
canoes, &c., so we went to see them. Macbean showed me 
Williams' original paintings of scenes in G-reece. What a 
glorious country their poets had to write about, as far as 
natural scenery was concerned ! He was a fine artist. When 
we arrived at Bonaly, the Solicitor-General was waiting, 
ready for a walk; showed me the bowling-green, then to 
the terrace, which I admired much, though the distant view 
was lost in the haze The white pony came to receive his 
caresses. At the end of the walk I was shown the statues of 
Robert Bruce and another, ' which the mason had painted 
white, and Horner cleaned by whole bottles of acid.' After 
ascending to the top of Graham's Dell, he showed me the 
marsh surrounded by rocks where the Covenanters used to 
preach, then over the height, and down to the Linn by the 
single elm tree. ' Here I have seen Frances ^ stand with an 
umbrella, which keeps off the water longer than you would 
think, picking wild flowers.' Then we went over Mushroom 
Hill, where we filled our pockets with mushrooms, and back 
by Torphin. He talked to me much of Brougham, how 
treacherous as a friend, and how gigantic his power as a 
servant of the public. He has cleared off nearly all arrears, 
and if he does what he proposes here (all the forty appeals, 
Scotch), he will do what has not been done for centuries. 
I talked to him of the state of Prance, when I was there last 
year, their new peerage bill ; of Spain, of which he asked me 
much; of Buckland, with whom at Craig Crook he was much 
delighted; of Etna, and I made him understand the differ- 
ence between the volcanic and other rocks of the Pentlands 
in the dell. This led him to talk of Playfair, and he cited an 
' iliss Horner's next sister, now Lady Bunbury. 

1831. LORD COCKBURN. 335 

elegant passage of his about Hutton. On these and fifty 
other subjects did we enlarge, and I think exchanged more 
ideas than I have often done with men with whom I have 
been acquainted for years. There is a delightful simplicity 
of character, an entire absence of ceremony, without any 
unpleasant familiarity, and without inviting it, a disposition 
to be amused and informed, and a wish to be thoroughly 
idle, when he is not working, that is delightful in him; and 
I observed that he could in an instant, on his return, sit 
down to severe work, for he has a dreadfully difficult case 
about patents submitted to his arbitration, which takes up 
much time. This decision, whatever it be, must ruin one or 
two very rich men, for the law is in a state of disgusting 
confusion and ambiguity. Mrs. Cockburn had returned from 
Edinburgh, where she had been spending her morning with 
her sister. I thought her very kind, and what is no small 
merit, always looking so happy and cheerful. On my return 
to the drawing-room, I found a carriage arrived with i!>I"apier 
and T. Thomson. We sallied out again for a walk in the 
garden ; Cockburn with Thomson, and I with Napier. From 
the latter I learnt many particulars respecting Playfair's 
style of composing and amending his MS., which amused me, 
and some good anecdotes of Dugald Stewart, of whose style 
of writing I have always been a great admirer. At dinner, 
the principal fun was a general attack on Napier, for having 
been shooting three whole days, and not having yet taken 
out a license. At first Thomson told him with such gravity 
how concerned he was that an information had been laid 
against him, that he was literally alarmed, and began to 
guess who had done it, or instigated the informer. When 
he began to hope it was a joke, Cockburn said, ' How can you 
expound the law to a class after thus violating it ? Why the 
very act is an implied forfeiture of your chair ! ' Cockbui-n 
told us of a curious action which was brought against the 
Siamese twins, who had been out shooting, and had returned 
blows on being assaulted by a Colonel. This led me to talk 
of what I saw of these youths, and when I mentioned how 
freely they conversed with others, and yet never to one 
another, he asked me why ? ' I suppose they are each ac- 
quainted with so precisely the same facts, that they have no 

336 S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiir. 

ideas to exchange. Do you not remark that people of the 
same family, who always live together, sometimes sit silent, 
although the best of friends, and yet are talkative to 
strangers ? ' ' Yes,' he replied, ' and I have often thought 
that scarcely any companionship, scarcely any conviviality 
is so delightfal, as that same social silence.' He laid a deep 
emphasis on these last words, which brought forcibly to my 
recollection many an occasion when I had felt the same, 
and when I would have preferred to walk or sit in a room 
with one I loved without speaking, to any conversation with 
an indifferent person. Cockburn asked me about the Zoolo- 
gical Gardens in town, and on my describing the prehensile 
tails of the ' spider monkeys,' declared he had often thought 
that if men had had tails, what volumes would have been 
written on the peculiar beauty of such an appendage to the 
human form, and of its utility, &c. Then he went on with 
speculations on the sort of caudal ornament he should like 
for himself. He put Napier on the defence of the last No. 
of the ' Edinburgh Review,' protesting against it, as the 
dullest, heaviest, and most unreadable one ever published ; 
but all in joke, and the editor took it well, and really fought 
a famous battle— much better than about the license. It 
appears that Sir William Hamilton wrote that stirring article 
about Oxford. In short we had a most agreeable merrj^ 
party, and when I went away Cockburn made me promise to 
call on him the moment I returned to Edinburgh. 

I left Edinburgh for Kinnordy, and met Marianne and 
Caroline at Glamis, and in an hour afterwards was at 
Kinnordy, having spent only three days most agreeably, and 
you will allow not idly at Edinburgh. The drive from 
Kinross to Perth through Glen Earg is beautiful, and not 
having been able to get an inside place, I enjoyed a seat on 
the outside on a sunny day very much. I found the place 
here in great beauty, the more so after the uncommonly 
sunny summer which they have enjoyed, and which has 
still left all things green, but with a warm look upon them. 
I like the change in the garden very much, the turning part 
of the flower borders into the English style, and a magnifi- 
cent rank and file of dahlias now in full blow. 

Seftemher 9. — I must return once again to Bonaly. I 


forgot to say, that when we rejoined the ladies after dinner, 
there was an animated conversation about Dugald Stewart's 
monument, which is now rising on the Calton Hill, and I 
think promises to be beautiful. Turner, E.A., when in Edin- 
burgh this year, augured ill of its effect, but I foretell it 
will be no failui-e. Cockburn wishes to have Dugald Stewart's 
bones removed to the spot. Some one (Napier I think) declared 
that the relatives would not have them taken from conse- 
crated to unconsecrated ground, but Thomson denied that 
they had any objection. ' It is not for the sake of the bones 
being really there,' said Cockburn, ' but if people could be 
made to fancy it, their associations would be stronger of the 
monument belonging to the man. Well, I will grant you, if 
you please, that this is mere illusion, and what is more, one 
which I do not require to aid my feelings, but others will ; 
and a procession would not be enough, unless the bones were 
carried there, or some of the bones. '^ 

Kinnordy, September 12, 1831. — After Hall's arrival (the 
day after I came here), T set to work as of old in the ' India 
paper room,' a most cheerful drawing-room and a fine height. 
The paper, covered with birds, &c., was made by order for 
the room, and is not faded in thirty-five years. Walked 
with Marianne with baskets for mushrooms, which we tilled, 
so that they were heavy to carry to the hill above Kirriemuir. 
A glorious view and day. 

Letters from Donald Ogilvie (Lord Airlie's brother) can- 
vassing us for the county, Maule, M.P., having become Baron 
Panmure. Others from Hon. D. Halliburton (brother of 
Lord Aboyne) who opposes on Maule's interests. I had 
risen early to secure two hours before breakfast, after which 
went to the Episcopal chapel with a large party. I then 
rode to Cortachie Castle, and apologised to Lord Airlie at 
never having acknowledged the letter of his agent announcing 
my nomination as Deputy- Lieutenant of the county. 

I am getting on very steadily with my work, and really 
believe as well as in town ; which I like to believe, as nothino- 
can be more cheerful than the whole party here at present, 
my mother being in very tolerable health, and all the rest as 
well and happy as the day is long. 

September 15, 1881. — Cockburn mentioned to me in 

VOL. I. Z 

338 SIJ? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiii. 

my walk witli him at Bonaly, that the best thing Playfair 
ever wrote in point of style, was a controversial pamphlet on 
Dr. Eeid's eligibility to a Professorship at Edinburgh, not- 
withstanding certain alleged unorthodox opinions which the 
ministers of the Kirk charged him with entertaining. As it 
is precisely the kind of topic which I have been obliged to 
touch upon in my history of the progress of geology, and 
may have again, I should much wish to read it, but cannot 
buy it, as it is out of print. I will try and think of any work 
on Switzerland or the Alps for you to read. I wish you could 
get up the geography of the country of the Alps and neigh- 
bourhood, which E. de Beaumont has made the foundation 
of his ' successive elevation theory.' I must take things in 
their turn, and shall be unable to think of our tour much for 
some time. As to geology having half oi my heart, I hope 
I shall be able to give my whole soul to it, with that enthu- 
siasm by which alone any advance can be made in any 
science, or indeed in anj^ profession. 

September 17. — On Thursday the 14th, by way of a lark 
(to use a slang term), we went, seven of us, with a wheel- 
barrow to the hill of Kerry, and filled it entirely full of mush- 
rooms, besides five baskets full. Much joking about setting 
up a ketchup manufactory, and chalking the walls of Kerry 
with ' Lyell's Matchless Ketchup.' To-day walked with 
Marianne to seek for ferns and other plants, which Stokes 
wants for his herbarium. Dined at Baldovie : went in the 
open carriage, and returned at night by a fine moonlight. 
Laing Mason and several other lairds at dinner. 






Continuation of Journal to Miss Horner. 

Kinnordy : Septemher 20, 1831. — A frank brought me a 
Malta gazette, containing an excellent account of Graham's 
Island, the new volcano in the Mediterranean. The island is 
160 feet high, a mile in circumference, and twenty-five miles 
from Sciacca in Sicily. It has been landed upon, but is ex- 
pected to be washed away in time by the sea, which has 
already made perpendicular chfFs since the eruption. One 
fragment of limestone has been found on it unburnt, thrown 
up from below. The submarine eruption is still going on 
with great violence. 

After my usual morning's work on Monday, I went to see 
Fanny's ' bee-hive. Yesterday she tried the stratagem of 
taking away the honey, and then uniting the bees with those 
of another hive, instead of killing them. Strange to say, it 
is believed that in consequence of the additional heat gene- 
rated by a double number of bees, they eat so much less ; that 
the consumption of the two hives when united is, during 
winter, no more than that of one when separate. One hive 
is put under the other in the night, and the bees go up to 
the higher one, which is full of honey. When the swarm thei-e 

' His sister, 
z 2 

340 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

is sleeping, and during tlie night, tliey acquire the same smell, 
and in the morning are recognised as part of the same fra- 
ternity. Nearly all entered ; but five or six dozen did not 
get in, but tried to enter next day, when I saw them. They 
were detected as strangers, and much fighting ensued, and 
lots of dead bodies were cast out of the entrance, until nearly 
all who had Deen excluded, and probably some of the others, 
were killed, as also one queen bee, for they never sufl'er two 
in any hive. 

One of the great amusements here this summer seems to 
have been to watch the bees defending the entrance of their 
hive against a tinea, a species of moth of the same genus, 
and nearly the same size as the clothes moth, which hap- 
pened to swarm by thousands every night. The guard at the 
door was trebled while the pest lasted, and numbers were 
employed in dragging out the moths which entered to 
plunder the honey. Tender as these tinea appear, they 
rarely are killed. The wasps are great depredators, and 
swarm also ; they are usually pulled out by five bees, but are 
scarcely ever killed. Caroline says, ' A wasp looks so like a 
thief hustled out by a party of constables ! ' I afterwards 
rode with Eleanor a most beautiful ride, across the Prosen, 
and a ford of the Esk, to Cortachie Castle, and then to 
Downie Park. 

Sir James and Lady Eamsay came eai-ly to dinner. 
Ramsay wanted me to go to Banff, but as I had declined 
Captain Parquharson's tempting invitation to go with him to 
Invercauld, I could fight off with a good grace. They always 
make me a speech here about ' knowing how fully my time 
is employed,' &c., which would annoy some people who like 
to be thought to produce books without any effort ; but as I 
have no such vanity, I am content to be thought privileged 
to do as I like. I took Ramsay to the top of the Tower ^ 
and to see the Canoe : ^ afterwards walked with Caroline and 
Eleanor ■* to a ' den ' on the river Carity, to collect ferns for 

- In the garden at Kinnordy, containing a museum of curiosities. 

5 An ancient canoe taken out of the marl in the Loch of Kinnordy, in the 
summer of 1820. See Transactions of the Geological Society, 2nd series, vol. 
ii. plate X, 

■• His sisters. 


Stokes, and got five species on tlie rocks. My door is open, 
and I hear Lizzy,^ who is the best performer, playing ' the 
Bonnie House of Airlie,' of which she has a beautifal set. 
The two parrots which Tom brought from Africa are chatting 
away in the passage, but neither of them are given to scream- 
ing now, as they were apt to do at first. To-day the Mndies 
of Pitmuir, cousins of ours, but not very near, came to make 
a call from six miles the other side of Forfar. 

Siqjteynber 24. — I went a long ride with Eleanor to Balen- 
tore, went over the shooting quarter, which is a suite of 
' laird's rooms ' attached to those of the farmer. We went 
hunting a little for ferns and lycopodiaccBe, and with tolerable 
success, and returned by a different road. Balentore is our 
northernmost farm^ fairly in the Grampians, and among the 

If you are not frightened by De la Beche, I think you are 
in a fair way to be a geologist ; though it is in the field only 
that a person can really get to like the stiff part of it. Not 
that there really is anything in it that is not very easy, when 
put into plainer language than scientific writers choose often 
unnecessarily to employ. 

My father, Maria,^ and Fanny went to make a long round 
of calls in the open carriage, to Tealing — Mr. and Mrs. Foth- 
eringham Scrymgeour ; Sir John Ogilvy's, Baldoven House, 
near Dundee ; Miss Graham of Balmure, &c. Sir John's 
family was in times of old, as tradition says, a branch of the 
Airlie stock before they were titled, and they (Sir J.'s ances- 
tors) possessed the feudal castle of Inverquharity, which now 
belongs to my father, about four miles from here. It is in 
the valley of the S. Esk, and by far the best wooded and most 
beautiful part of our property. Although much fine timber 
hag been felled there in the last twenty years, it would stand 
not a little cutting now. The river and park scenery about 
that place is so very superior to anything near Kirriemuir, 
that many think Kinnordy should have been built there. I 
rode with Eleanor and Maria to Pearsie, a beautiful highland 
place, and most comfortable house. When a boy, just before 
I went to Oxford, I thought it a perfect Paradise. When I 
visited it at that time it was a Mr. Wedderburn's, and Mrs. 

' " His sisters. 

342 S7Ji CHARLES LVELL. chap. xiv. 

Somerville, when Miss Fairfax, used to stay there, and as a 
girl came over from it to dine at Kinnordy, in my grand- 
father's time. 

September 27. — To-day I went with Eleanor a long walk 
up the hills behind us on the north, and got two more plants 
for Stokes on the Clune and Castle Hills, where we started a 
great number of blackcock. On my return I found Dr. 
Fleming just arrived. He showed a strong interest about 
King's College, and I told him that as I had received my 
nomination in a manner that was highly complimentary, I 
should do my best for a short course. Upon this he said, 
' If you lecture once a year for a short course, I am sure you 
will derive advantage from it. A short practice of lecturing 
is a rehearsal of what you may afterwards publish, and 
teaches you by the contact with pupils how to instruct, and 
in what you are obscure. A little of this will improve your 
power perhaps as an aiithor. Then, as you are pursuing a 
path of original and purely independent discovery and 
observation, it increases much your public usefulness in a 
science so unavoidably controversial to have thrown over 
you the moral protection of being in a public and respon- 
sible situation, connected with a body like King's Col- 
lege. But then you must stipulate that you are to be 
free to travel, and must only be bound to give one short 
course annually.' 

I perceive you are very busy and studious, which gives 
me great pleasure. Though I was born with a taste for 
natural history, I find that if I take up a new branch — 
botany for example, or conchology — I am obliged to do very 
little at a time, or I get a temporary distaste. It will never 
do to force these things, either on ourselves or others. Dr. 
Fleming has been spending much time in the Sky Parlour, 
selecting duplicate insects, some of them handsome things, 
which Eleanor brought from Jermyns ^ last spring, and 
which are not Scotch. He has no collector's box with him, 
which he says proves he came with honest intentions ; but 

he was greatly delighted to hear that , when here, had 

the inside of the crown of his hat lined with cork ! 

Kinnordy : September 30, 1831. — The papers of this 
' His uncle Captain Heathcote's place, near Komaey, Hants. 


morning were full of the dreadful hurricane of Barbadoes, 
in which 3,000 persons at least are said to have perished, 
and the whole island to be now a desert. This morning- Dr. 
Fleming went away in spite of us, in our open carriage to 
Forfar, at a quarter before six o'cloct, to meet the coach in a 
hard rain, which has continued all yesterday till to-day. I 
think I omitted yesterday to mention a letter from Tom to 
Eleanor from Portsmouth. ' We are under weigh for Cork, 
where we are to rejoin Admiral Codrington's fleet.' Sophia 
and Lizzy have discovered that an election is a good thing, 
as there is to be a ball on the 10th (a county ball) at Forfar, 
which has grown out of it. As we could not go out for the 
rain, we had a good game of battledore and shuttlecock, 
with some famous rackets which I brought from Paris last 

Octoler 3. — My father went to the election to-day at For- 
far, and I have done a great day's work, nearly finishing my 
fourth chapter. I walked with Eleanor, and got a few ferns, and 
in the garden for apples. Eight o'clock. — Messenger arrived 
with the news that the Tories have triumphed, and Colonel 
Ogilvy is M.P. Sophia tells me it is quite right that Colonel 
Ogilvy should be member, because he will conduct the 
Forfar ball with more spirit. 

October 4. — Yesterday I took a walk with Maria to 
Kirriemuir quarry, the largest in this country, one of my 
father's, which, although not a very valuable possession, is 
really a fine object. Lord Airlie called to-day in his carriage 
and four, and Captain William in his carriage, when I was 
out, a sort of formal way of paying a visit of thanks. But 
his manner was anything but formal, and he thanked my 
father as warmly as if he had put his brother in. When 
Eleanor and I called at a cottier's to-day, an old woman said, 
' It has been sair work to get on, they Parliamenters,' 
alluding to the 14,000L spent last year by the Airlies in 
trying to get into the borough. But this county election has 
not I suppose cost 300L My brother Harry was to have 
been on the roll this year, but I am glad my father has 
stopped it, as certainly it would be throwing away money, 
for a reform in the Scotch system cannot be far off. I went 
to call on my old nurse Nanny (or Mrs. Yeates) to-day, who 

344 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

is not well. She talks awaj- with the familiarity of one of the 
family, in which she take& a real interest. 

October 8. — Mr. Blackadder the surveyor came from 
Glamis to consult about a map of the county, which he is to 
construct for a joint memoir on the Geology of Forfa,rshire, 
for which we have been preparing materials for years, to be 
published by the Geological Society. 

Sunday. — Walked with Eleanor to chapel, where the 
carriage also went full. The principal talk was about a 
dire event, no less than the putting off of the county ball, 
which was to have been Sophy's and Lizzy's first Forfar debut. 
And why? Because Mrs. General Hunter, the directress, 
had heard that the Torfarians were resolved to break every 
carriage to pieces of the Tories, if on Monday the news 
should arrive, as they anticipated, of the bill being thrown 
out by the Lords ! Dresses and all for nothing ! and the 
Miss Drummonds staying at Cortachie for nothing else, and 
a large party at Logie for the same. So Colonel "Ogilvy, the 
director, was obliged to send round notice only two days 
before, that the ball was put off. 

October 9.* — I hope the returns of this day, as long as my 
life lasts, will very rarely see us separate ; never, I would 
willingly say, if I thought all my wishes could be realised. 

I rode alone to Glamis, to choose some plants (fossil) 
which Blackadder's wife and daughter had collected, they 
having taken a fancy to fossilise. He rode back with me as 
far as Kirriemuir. Met Wedderburn Ogilvy of Ruthven, 
who rallied me on my republican principles — but in great 
good humour he said, 'As you are looking better than last 
year, I presume you have not been fagging so hard.' When 
I returned I found that my father, Fanny, and Sophy were 
gone to dine at Fotheringham, and to sleep. 

Thursday. — The Fotheringham party returned. They met 
Sir Francis Walker, Lady Drummond of Hawthornden and 
daughters, Mr. Fotheringham Scrymgeour, Lord Airlie, &c. 
It was just an Angus set-to of the old regime. They arrived 
at half-past six o'clock, and waited dinner one hour. Gentle- 
men rejoined the ladies at half past twelve o'clock ! They 
in the mean time had had tea, and a regular supper laid out 
* Miss Horner's birthday. 


in the drawing-room. After an hour with the ladies, thej' 
returned to the dining-room to supper at half-past one 
o'clock, and my father ief c them all at it at half-past two 
o'clock ! 

The ladies did not go to this supper. Cockburn remarked 
that Forfarshire was the last stronghold of those Scottish 
habits being maintained, but it is fast wearing out. I forgot 
to say the other day at Cortachie that the conversation 
turned on a trial now pending at Perth on Lord Mar, for 
shooting at a man with intent to kill and wounding the 
horse. Lord Airlie said, ' I was very lucky once. An old 
man and a youngster came to fish at Airlie Castle, and I 
warned them off in the morning, so they went; but when I 
came back in the evening I found them again, and broke 
the old man's rod, and on the other's making off, shot at him 
when 90 yards off, and peppered him, so that he was obliged 
to have the shots extracted. Fortunately for me he did not 
prosecute.' Erskine of Linlathen did not vote for Colonel 
Ogilvy, because he will not take any oaths. He (Erskine) 
has built a house 220 feet long in front, they say the largest 
in Angus- 

Our parrots have acquired a nice accomplishment, that 
of imitating the squeak of two doors as they move on their 
hinges, and of a wheelbarrow of which the wheel squeaks. 
Whenever they see the passage door move, they set up this 
concert,, which I am now enjoying, and when they see the 
gardener's man, we hear the barrow performed. This has 
replaced the dog whistle, with which they used to salute 
Tom- All the sisterhood (five of them) went this morning 
to Dundee, with a beautiful basket of ladies' work, which 1 
hope will bring 8Z. or more for Lady Ramsay's table. They 
had the large carriage, with a pair of horses besides our 
own, a nineteen miles' stage. 

October 15, 1831. — Our five lassies returned, from Dundee. 
They sold their ladies' work at high prices, and it seems to 
have been an amusing meeting. Many gentlemen, to show 
their gallantry, were buying at the tables of ladies of their 
acquaintance. As they came back through our village of 
Kerry at night, a mob of about 40 reformers hissed. They 
put down the windows lest stones should be thrown, but this 

346 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

it seems was not intended. They think that as they had 
four horses, it was taken for Lord Airlie's carriage, but per- 
haps it was in honour of my father's Toryism. 

October 24. — The Murrays of Simprim arrived. Having 
a horror of the habits of a considerable set of the Angus 
lairds, Murray voted himself a Perthshire man, and would 
have nothing to say to them. Indeed, had he been in my 
father's place, I am persuaded that, like him, he would have 
emigrated. But Mrs. M.'s great friend, Mrs. Farquharson of 
Invercauld, persuaded her to visit her namesake of Baldovie, 
and there I met them some seven years ago. I soon found 
in Murray, and he in me, a congenial spirit, and he was 
always asking me to Meigle, about ten miles from here, in 
the direction of Perth, where his place is. I went occasion- 
ally, and found him an original character, with a great love 
aud respect for science, and who had all his life cultivated 
literary society ; full of anecdote, and who had the art both 
in the country and when in town of filling his house with 
an agreeable society. He used to go occasionally to the 
Royal and Geological Societies vrith me, and at last they 
called at Kinnordy, in spite of the rule they had laid down, 
and continue to visit here. Our party was Mr. and Mrs. M. 
and their youngest daughter, about twenty years or twenty- 
one ; Mrs. Kinloch and her sister Lady Ogilvy (the dowager) ; 
Annie Kinloch ; John K. (the laird of Logie) ; and Mr. James 
Ogilvy. Murray told me that his cousin. Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie, had refused to read my book when he, M., bored 
him so to do ; but lately he fell in with it somewhere by 
accident, and has been most active recommending it to all 
his friends. 

Kinnordy : October 25, 1831. — I see by the paper that 
Leslie, Brewster, Ivory, Herschel, and Charles Bell are knighted 
— Guelphic Order, I believe. I begin to think that all our 
acquaintances will soon be dubbed Knight-Bachelor. 

Edinburgh : 27. — I had an inside place in the coach, and 
read with much pleasure and profit, Playfair's Disserta- 
tion on the Progress of Physical Science in supplement to the 
' Encyclopaedia Bribannica,' which Mr. Maitland procured for 
me when I was lastnere. 1 think I can give a new definition 
of geology modelled on Playfair's definition of Physical 


Astronomy, -wliicli I will give you to read to your father, as 
he thought my former deBnition open to criticism, and I 
shall be glad to know if he likes this. ' Geology is a science 
arising out of the comparison of the phenomena of ■past 
change, observed on the surface and interior of the earth's 
crust, with the laws of charf^ewiow regulating the terrestrial 
creation, whether animate or inanimate.' It is perhaps too 
abstract for general readers, yet may be useful in the body 
of the book. A definition, I suppose you know, is of all 
things the most difficult, and must in the present state of 
geology involve a theory. 

Saturday. — I shall write a few words before I get into 
the steamboat, just to tranquillise my mind a little, after 
reading several controversial articles by Elie de Beaumont and 
others against my system. If I find myself growing too 
warm or annoyed at such hostile demonstrations, I shall 
always retreat to you. You will be my harbour of peace to 
retire to, and where I may forget the storm. I know that 
by persevering steadily I shall some years hence stand very 
differently from where I now am in science ; and my only 
danger is the being impatient, and tempted to waste my 
time in petty controversies and quarrels about the priority of 
discovery of this or that fact or theory. I am glad to see 
that E. de Beaumont has reiterated in more explicit terms 
all those general views which I expect to overthrow, intoxi- 
cated, perhaps, by Sedgwick's eulogy, who was carried away 
by the novelty and dashing assertions of E. de Beaumont. 

Monday. — I have been writing a few sentences for my work, 
and reading ' Don Quixote,' which is provided by the librarian 
here. We shall have a third night of it in the river, which 
we must not complain of, as we have had still water the 
whole way. I am convinced that if I can but keep my mind 
moderately fixed to the publication of my volume, that I 
shall outdo expectation in this volume ; but as the part I am 
now about is of necessity, from the present state of the 
science, exceedingly controversial, and as I am contending at 
once seven or eight distinct points with no less persons than 
Sedgwick, Conybeare, E. de Beaumont, and three or four 
others, you may well suppose how very carefully I must 
weigh every word and opinion. I see by the new articles 

348 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

just out that they are beginning to differ from one another, 
as well as from me, and I shall make new schisms among 
them by this volume. I shall be as careful as possible not 
to controvert uncivilly. 

London .- November 2, 1831. — I have most to tell you when 
in town, but least time to spare for writing. I fled from the 
confusion of unpacking, to the dinner of the Linnsean Club, 
which is always amusing. In a few minutes I forgot I was 
just off the sea, and heard all the news. Old Lambert, 
Prince Cimitelli, old Caley, and myself were all that sat 
down; an unusually thin meeting, but a merry one. Adjourned 
to the Society's rooms, and heard a learned botanical paper 
by Robert Brown, on the fructification of the Orchidacese. I 
was glad to meet my friend Dr. Hooker the botanist, also 
Burchell the African traveller, whom I had not seen since 
his return from the Brazils. Bicheno, Wallich, Curtis, all 
had some news to tell me ; a week's reading of reviews and 
magazines in Angus, or at the Manse of Flisk,* would have 
given me less information about what is now going on, and 
coming out, in sciences connected with my department. And 
then, the excitement is so useful ; many inquiries what 
precise page I had arrived at in print. I was glad to see 
Curtis the entomologist, and to compliment the meritorious 
but ill-requited author of the most beautiful and scientific 
work on insects ever published in England, on the merits of 
his last number, which I had found on my table. The great 
news of the day among the collectors, was the arrival of the 
long expected sail-mcCker, Cuming, a man who, ha^fing 
made a little money in trade in Chili, some ten years ago, and 
fished up a few new shells, which brought in in London six 
or eight guineas each, took it into his head to build a small 
sloop, and sail along the American coast and isles of the 
Pacific, dredging for shells and corals, and observing their 
habits, as also Crustacea and other classes, till he filled four 
hundred chests of things, numbers of them quite new. 

On my return home, I found my chum Broderip glad to 

see me. After a morning's work, went with Broderip to the 

sail-maker's, and found not a few eagles gathered together 

around the carcass — Lambert, Gray, Children, &c. His 

* Dr. Fleming's Manse in Fife. 


treasures only half unpackea, but much that was interesting. 
Dinner at Club of Geological Society, as usual an agreeable 
meeting. Murchison in the chair, agreed to meet on Friday, 
and tell me lots of news. Greenough, Broderip, Pringle, 
Stokes, Basil Hall, and strangers. Basil Hall brought his 
newly purchased autograph of the 'Antiquary,' by Sir Walter 
Scott, and two pages of preface lately written by Scott at 
Portsmouth, in his own handwriting, giving his reasons to. 
Basil Hall why he liked the ' Antiquary ' better than all his 
novels. A paper of Dr. Turnbull, Christie's, on Sicily, led 
Murchison to call me up, and I had the field much to myself. 
T told you that a temporary cloud came over me in Edin- 
burgh at seeing the controversial storm gathering against 
me in the horizon ; but I must say it was dispelled by 
this meeting, for never on the first meeting, after my first 
volume appeared, did I hear it so much spoken of. Fitton 
declared to the meeting his conviction that my theory of 
earthquakes would ultimately prevail. Greenough made 
one of his ultra-sceptical speeches, saying that once he only 
doubted what ' stratification ' meant, but now he was quite 
at a loss to conceive the meaning of the term ' sea ' in 
geology, and he thought no one could explain what ' the sea ' 
meant. Fitton gave him some hard hits for thus fighting 
shadows, and ' assisting the cause of darkness ' by doubting 
elementary truths. Basil Hall, with more humour, said as a 
sailor, that he felt alarmed at hearing the existence of a great 
mass of waters (for he would no longer give ofi'ence by talking 
of ' the sea ') called in question, &c. He then eulogised my 
book, and after the meeting two American gentlemen came 
up to be introduced, and poured out a most flattering com- 
ment on its popularity in the United States ; but what was 
much more to the purpose than this sort of incense, they 
gave me many facts bearing on my theories respecting part 
of North America. I did not get back till near one, and then 
a great fire in Holborn, which was too grand a sight to lose, 
detained me three-quarters of an hour. 

2 Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn : November 5, 1831. — 
After a good morning's work, I went with Lonsdale ' to see 

' William Lonsdale, b. 1794, d. 1861, assistant secretary and curator of the 
Geological Society. ' To no one man has our body been more indebted, 

350 SIJi CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

the panoramas of Quebec and Bombay, and instead of re- 
creation got into a long argument with bim. He took up 
the cudgels in favour of Elie de Beaumont and Sedgwick, 
but I made him abandon some points and doubt on all the 
rest. I returned to work, but after this went by invitation 
to drink tea with the Murchisons, and was thus kept to 
geology till half-past eleven o'clock at night, so that after 
my work this morning I foun 1 my head ache, and thought 
to relieve myself by going up to Dr. Horsfield,^ who lives 
over me, to see his insects, which he studies every Saturday. 
Here T was excited again, for the Doctor was just re- 
turned from Leyden, and told me that he found Reinward 
(Professor of Zoology, I believe) just publishing a grand 
work in Dutch on the Bast Indian Archipelago, with 
a geological introduction, in which he declares his entire 
adherence to all my ' Principles,' and illustrates them by 
facts of recent elevation, &c., such as, Horsfield says, will 
startle all but me. Now you must know that Horsfield is 
one of those heretics of whose conversion I never had any 
hope, so I was amused at the pains he had taken to shake 
Eeinward from the true faith, but all in vain. As Horsfield 
has a prodigious opinion of Reinward, and as he has that 
natural turn for philosophical pursuits that renders a person 
somewhat restless when in a state of doubt as to the explan- 
ation of grand phenomena, he has been reading Leonhard 
and other works to strengthen himself in his old faith, and 
declared himself still an unbeliever, though he wants amaz- 
ingly to read my second volume. You will be glad to hear 
that your knowledge of Dutch will be so useful to me by-and- 
by. Mrs. Murchison was in high spirits, and has evidently 
enjoyed their tour,' and above all the York meeting. Her 

whether for his publications, his conduct of ovir affairs, or the zealous and 
disinterested labour he bestowed in aiding and improving the works of his 
associates.' — Leonard Horner, Geological Society's Proceedinc/s. 

2 Dr. Thomas Horsfield, F.R.S., b. 1773, d. 1859. For some years keeper 
of the Museum of the East India Company. His contributions to entomology 
and other branches of zoology are well known. 

' During this expedition Mr. Murchison discovered that the Upper Silurian 
rooks (then called Upper Grauwacke) were stratigraphically conformable with 
the lowest members of the Old Bed Sandstone formation, and that its dif- 
ferent 6eds could be recognised from their containing peculiar fossils. Mur- 
chison here laid the foundation for his great work on the Silurian system. 


real delight in conchology is of great use to her in taking 
away the tedium of long sojourns in out-of-the-way places, 
and she had a fair opportunity of collecting. They have 
found recent Irish Channel shells in abundance, 300 feet high 
on the Lancashire coast ! I am delighted, because the 
identity of the living species of plants and animals in England 
and Ireland made me argue that some great changes in the 
distribution of land and sea had taken place in that part within 
the modern era. It is clear to me that the muster of nobles, 
dignitaries of the Church, and scientific men at York, must 
have done great good. A hundred and fifty ladies, and many 
of rank, at the evening discussions, must also have ' popu- 
larised ' scientific pursuits. Lord Morpeth seems to have 
acquitted himself with great ability. Murchison made a 
capital cruise in the geological way. It is cheering to see 
how unabated his ardour is. 

On his hearing from me how much your father was geolo- 
gising, he has determined to write to him some hints about 
the geology of Diisseldorf, Cologne, &c., and to point out 
some things to be cleared up. The satisfaction he expressed 
at hearing that your father was so employed, amused me. 
He said very trulj' that a succinct account of what the Ger- 
mans have done about that country would be a most accept- 
able boon to us here. 

November 12. — This morning I wrote to Whewell, to ask 
him if he would review me, as Lockhart wishes, in the 
' Quarterly.' Murchison has read the first three chapters, 
and liked them much. Necker of Geneva, Murchison, and 
Lonsdale breakfasted here. Necker expressed great regard 
for your father, and inquired about you all. I wish much 
that we may be able to pay a visit to him (in Switzerland), 
and I think he would put me in the best way of seeing parts 
of the Alps, where he thinks Elie de Beaumont's grand 
theory may be put to the test, and where he thinks it fails 
most eniirely. Chamouni, moreover, is the grandest thing 
in Europe, and I should like you to see that. 

King's College is in good odour. My friend Dodd, author 
of ' Autumn on the Rhine,' who declined a chair of English 
literature as unprofessional, he being a barrister in practice, 
is trying to get a chair of common law made. I want the 

oo-l SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

accession of a man like Dodd, who womd strenf^-then the 
gentlemanly tone of the thing, as that is of more importance 
even than talent, to success. 

Lord Lansdowne told Murchison yesterday that he had 
spelt my first volume from beginning to end in his late 

November 17. — We had yesterday an excellent meeting, 
both at the Club of the Geological Society and at Somerset 
House. A paper of Count Montlosier on Somma and Ve- 
suvius excited much interest ; we had a famous discussion. 
Buckland, Greenough, Fitton, De la Beche, and I began, but 
Necker, on being invited, spoke half an hour most capitally. 
I never heard a better lecture. Otter, on seeing me at 
King's College yesterday, when I looked in after Geological 
Council, said, ' I am glad to see that you show your face here 
sometimes.' He looks very ill ; he is probably too old for such 
a work as starting an uaiversity, though all has gone on 
quietly. There was a discussion at our end of the table 
about the costume of the King's College students, some saying 
that they ought not to have adopted the gown and cap, and 
others defending. As for the Professors, they all wear their 
own gowns, that is to say, according to the academical de- 
gree they may happen to have. Thus I shall have my 
Oxford Master of Arts gown ; some have their Bachelor of 
Divinity ; in short, the robes are as varied as at College of 

Mrs. Somerville is returned. T have not seen her. Wol- 
laston says she is looking ill, and attributes it to her anxiety 
about Greig,* who is recovering from a dangerous illness. 
Buckland is, I think, in pretty good spirits, though certainly 
very gloomy at times, and croaking about the state of the 
country. So are Stokes, Broderip, and many others. A 
feeling of insecurity of property has much lessened the de- 
mand for labour. Lockhart says that an additional stagna- 
tion of six months would make every bookseller bankrupt, 
except Longman and Murray ; but this, I suppose, is a little 
too strong. As for public affairs, i have long left off troubling 
myself about them, as knowing that one engaged in scientific 
pursuits has as little to do with them in point of influencing 
•• AVoronzow Greig, her> son by her former marriage. 


their career, as with the government of the hurricanes or 
earthly motion ; and if one becomes annoyed, there is an 
end of steady work. Even Whewell is frightened about the 
Eeform Bill. 

London : November 20. — We had a most agreeable muster 
at Stokes's ordinary this morning, at which Buckland, 
Brown, Basil Hall, Broderip and I were at breakfast. All 
of a sudden I took it into my head to go and dine at Chelsea, 
if I found Mrs. Somerville well enough. Seeing her book on 
the table, led me to think of this, which I had before re- 
solved not to do, till I knew she was better. Found Stokes 
going to Athenaeum, who agreed to go on to Chelsea, if I 
would stop at the club ten minutes. Crawfurd there fastened 
on me, and told me about a book on India, which he is 
coming out with, and of a geological chapter he wishes to 
write. On our way we looked in to see Chantrey's fine 
statue of Canning. Is it not provoking, that just after 
Chantrey has built a most splendid and truly elegant house, 
Lord Grosvenor's agent has persisted in building just 
opposite, in spite of remonstrances, a vile, tall steam-engine 
chimney ! 'Tis enough to sour any one for the rest of his 
days, but Chantrey is luckily not atrabilious. I found Mrs. 
Somerville quite glad to get me to dine there, and I spent a 
most pleasant evening, and stayed very late. All kinds of 
offers from her and the girls, to be useful to me in getting 
up my lectures. Mrs. Somerville is looking oldish. I think 
the book has done her no good, and when I see it, I am sure 
that such a work must have been too great an effort for any 
one in the time. It was a gigantic undertaking. Babbage 
was offered knighthood, but declined, not as underrating it, 
but because he had written on the necessity of titles being 
given, &c., and it would look ill if it appeared that he had 
done so for personal considerations. Martha and Mary S. 
have made a beautiful collection of seaweeds at Bognor. 

November 22. — I have been this evening with Necker, who 
wiU, I hope, on his return from Aberdeen, visit Kinnordy. 
He has been planning an expedition to Chamouni and the 
Vallorsine for us; and as all the points, some of the most 
picturesque, as well as geological of the Alps, which I ought 
most to see, are the same to which he took his mother, an 

VOL. I. A A 

354 S/H CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

oldish woman, last year, it is clear that you can go to them. 
Talking over Chamouni has revived my admiration for that 
region, to which all the rest of Europe which I have seen is 
poor in comparison, for grandeur and sublimity of scenery. 
Somerville was remarking that De la BSche's book is un- 
intelligible, and that I must write an introduction, which I 
told him I intended to do. Anticipating a small class, I 
have been thinking that the only way to ensure my not 
letting down my reputation in my lectures is to determine 
to write so many chapters for an easy introductory volume. 
Tou cannot think how much my spirits have risen, so far as 
the lectures are concerned, since I saw more clearly than 
formerly how easy they will be. Somerville's wine and 
coffee, and the excitement of walking home with Stokes, 
who kindly volunteered entering on what my introductory 
lecture ought to be upon, made my head ache, and I hardly 
got any sleep, and am almost good for nothing to-day. Mrs. 
Somerville begged me to send a copy of her book to Bonn, 
which is going in the parcel to Von Oeynhausen. 

December 2. — I had a hard task yesterday to keep my 
resolutions of severe temperance, for Murchison was so 
unwell, that he asked me to preside at the Geological Society 
club dinner, and take his friend Colin Mackenzie to it ; so I 
was obliged to push about the bottle, and to sham taking a 
fair quantity of wine. Our numbers were thinned by the 
Eoyal Society Anniversary and by the rain, but it went off 
well, and in the evening brilliantly. A sort of geographical 
paper, long and dull, and really of no value whatever, was to 
have been read by my travelling companion Captain Cooke, 
now again in Spain. We had staved it off till we had read 
out the others. But when your father's letter to the Presi- 
dent came about the new isle north-east of Pantellaria,' we 
determined to shove Cooke's into the coal-hole without' 
ceremony. So when Turner had read some passages, Mur- 
chison (for he was recovered enough to take the chair) said 
to the meeting ' that it would not be doing justice to Captain 
Cooke to go on, since there were certain maps and illustra- 
tions which ought to accompany, not yet arrived : that it was 
begun, just that it might keep its place, &c. I then 
' Graham Island, visited by M. Hoffmann, the Prussian geologist. 


officiated as secretary, Broderip being ill, and read Hoffman's 
paper,^ which produced an animated discussion, into which I 
entered largely. The structure of Pantellaria, the wasting 
away of the new isle, the par-boiled fish, the floating cinders, 
the clefts at Sciacca, &c., all afforded subjects for Fitton, 
myself, De la Beche, Dr. Babington, Murchison, and others 
to dilate upon. The President was knocked up by his 
extreme imprudence. He went to dine with thirty other 
F.R.S.s at Kensington, with H.R.H.,' and came home with 
Captain Smyth, who seduced him to a smoking bout till three 
o'clock next morning ! punch I believe accompanying. He 
was half dead at the council. This morning he persuaded 
me to go in his carriage with him to see the (Eningen 
freshwater tortoise {achdonia) which Bell, the dentist, has 
got over for his museum. After the paper of Hoffman's was 
over, old Whishaw came up to me and said ' he never heard 
one more interesting, and he thought Horner had drawn it 
up with great clearness and judgment.' He and Fitton 
mentioned having received letters from your father. I told 
Murchison long ago that I meant to dedicate vol. ii. to him, 
not only as President of the Geological Society, but because 
I use our joint and unpublished notes on Auvergne in the 
volume, and because we had together part of the best and 
longest geological tour which I ever made, my tour which 
made me what I am in theoretical geology, or completed my 
views on that. Scrope came here this morning, full of the 
frightful state of the country. For my part I am, in regard 
to politics, in the happy condition of Voltaire's gardener : 
' Travailler sans raisonner, c'fest le seul moyen d'etre 

December 6, 1831. — A letter from Whewell, expressing his 
delight at my three hundred pages, and that he had actually 
begun a review of me for Q. E., excited me to work with 
spirit ; and after two days thinking of the delay which the 
completing the subject in one volume more would occasion 
to the getting out the large part already done, I resolved to 
see if I could get it out as a volume by itself. Told Broderip 
I should dedicate it to him. He was more overjoyed than 1 

" Drawn up for the Geological Society by Mr. Horner. 
' The Duke of Sussex, President of the Royal Society. 
A A 2 

356 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xiv. 

have seen him many a day, and the day after he declared 
that if a legacy of 5,000L had been left him, it would have 
given him less pleasure. So I must explain to Murchison 
that the third volume is the one he ought to have dedicated 
to him, as it is the part in vyhich he is strong, and vyhere his 
name will appear. 

December 9, 1831. — T am just returned from a very late 
sitting of the Eoyal Society, at which the President's (the 
Dnke of Sussex) speech was read. It touched on very 
delicate ground, his election, and his conception of his duties, 
and why he thought himself fit for the ofiice. Yet there is 
really not a word that one could wish altered. It raises him 
much in our estimation, and I know few public men who in 
so delicate and personal an affair could have acquitted them- 
selves so well. His allusion to Herschel and his father was 
excellent. ' Sir John Herschel, to whom I had the honour, 
for I cannot call it the misfortune, to be opposed.' When I 
get the annals or proceedings of R. S. I will send them. 
You will read the Duke's speech with interest, if you have 
ever heard of the feuds and schisms which our contested 
election gave rise to. I was quite amused to find, from con- 
versation with Whewell last night, how much his tone is 
altered in regard to my anti-catastrophe system. I am sure 
that, when volume three is out, there will be few of the 
paroxysmal school left — comparatively few — and they will be 
far more moderate. 

Becemher 12, 1831. — Dawson Turner was at Athenaeum 
last night, with whom I had some talk ; also two good hours' 
confab with Scrope, who has a most active intellectual mind 
— alive to everything, politics, political economy, Hume, 
Berkeley and Reid's metaphysics, geology, Irving, the 
Eoweites, and progress of fanaticism. I went this morning 
to thank Otter for a volume of Horsley's sermons, one of 
which on the discrepancy of Genesis with certain philosophical 
discoveries is very striking, and perhaps the most straight- 
forward, manly, and to-the-point declaration that any 
eminent divine has made. 

December 13. — The Athenseum was very entertaining last 
night, so many members of the honourable House coming 
there, after the new Reform Bill was moved, and giving their 

1831. VISIT TO JERMYNS. 357 

opinions fro and cow. I went to call on Mrs. Lockhart, wlio 
is expecting to lose her eldest boy, poor ' little John,' every day. 
I made a great blunder in missing the Geographical Society 
last night, through forgetfulness, where I should have got 
some sound information, instead of hearing politicians 
discuss the interminable bill. Young said, ' Scrope, nothing 
will please you, because you are a philosopher half a century 
in advance of your age, who wants to Owenise the representa- 
tion, and divide the constituency of the country into parallelo- 
grams.' We all laughed at the sally of the old beau, for it 
hit my friend hard. You will like Scrope, I am sure, very 
much. Dined at the Geological Society club. Majendie, the 
famous French physiologist, sent by the Institute to Sunder- 
land about cholera, dined with us. He complains of the 
public hospital. Agrees well with the opinion which you sent 
me about Mittau, that in general the less you do, the more 
you leave it to nature, the better. A pleasant club. Stokes, 
Greenough, Buckland, Lord Cole, Broderip, and a few more. 
Murchison was pheasant-shooting in the country, but cut in 
for the meeting. A short paper on Springs, and another by 
Mr. Hutton on the Whin Sill of Yorkshire, drew up Buckland, 
Greenough, Fitton, Murchison, and De la Beche ; and as they 
seemed much disposed to go on for ever, Buckland speaking 
five times, but not once too often, I was glad to sit quiet, 
having held forth at such length on the new isle, &c., last 
time. Mrs. Somerville has just sent me the most peremp- 
tory mandate I ever received from her, to come there next 
Sunday. I know not who is to be there. I was sorry to 
miss the Brahmin Ramahoun Roy last week. Went to 
Beaufort at Admiralty, to go over a new map, showing 
modern and ancient coast line of Adriatic. 

Swnday. — Went with Stokes and Broderip to look over the 
splendid collection of South American shells brought home 
by Cuming. 

Jermyne : * Deeemher 24, 183 1 . — I found them here all quite 
well yesterday, and Marianne and Caroline looking really 
quite blooming and happy and pretty. We are just going out 
for a walk together. I have announced to them my decided 
wish to get free of the professorial chair, and at the same 
' Near Eomsey, Hants. 

358 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap, xr, 

time recommended my aunt to send cousin Gilbert to King's 
College, to prepare him for Cambridge. The examination of 
the forty-one mathematical and classical students, and the 
various lectures of Hall, Austin, and Otter, have given me 
an exceedingly high idea of the general education system at 
King's College, and I am certain that when once it is known 
the increase will be very great. There is emulation, a 
genteel set of youths, most of them going to Oxford and 
Cambridge, and three elegant scholars and gentlemen. 
Conybeare was at the Eoyal Society on Thursday. On my 
hinting that I should probably get free from King's College 
next spring (you remember the move he made towards my 
getting the chair), he was almost sore, and said he trusted I 
should think better of it, that it was a fine position, &c. 
The fact is, Conybeai-e's notion of these things is what the 
English public have not yet come up to ; which, if they had, 
the geological professorship in London would be a worthy 
aim for any man's ambition, whereas it is now one that the 
multitude would rather wonder at one's accepting. 

Christmas Day. — Marianne, Carry, and I went to Hursley 
Church, a long service, and it was a frost, and the church 
not over warm. What you say of the Lutheran equality is 
certainly a striking contrast to that most aristocratic form 
of Christianity which has been established in England. 
Gibbon Wakefield says in his pamphlet, amongst a long list 
of causes which make the poor feel an aversion to the higher 
classes : ' Even in church, where some of them preach that 
all are equal, they sit on cushions, boarded, matted, and 
sheltered from the wind and the vulgar gaze, whilst the 
lower order must put np with a bare bench or a stone floor, 
which is good enough for them.' We got out of the 
carriage when we were half way back, about two miles, when 
we got into fine forest scenery, so we had a delightful walk 
on the fine gravel road, and a bright sunny frosty day. Just 
as we were going to dine, the children raised a shout of 
' Tom, I declare ! ' and a gig drove up. Great was my surprise 
to find that it was my own brother Tom, whose ship had 
come yesterday from the Downs to Portsmouth, who, finding 
himself within three and a half hours' drive of Jermyns, had 
just had time to get leave, boat it ashore, hire a gig, and 


cut in for our five o'clock Christmas dinner. My aunt was quite 
overjoyed, and we had a very merry, cheerful evening. I shall 
stay to-morrow and return on Tuesday, and be thoroughly 
idle all the time. Eleanor says ' Fanny had a cheerful letter 
from Harry. He says he never had been in such good health 
since he had been in India. The regiment was stationed at 
Secrora, in the province of Oude, one of the very best stations 
in India, and he was thinking of not taking his furlough till 
they left that, which would make up his twelve years. We 
are going a long walk, and Marianne has proposed taking 
me on this fine frosty day to see where ' the chalk hills ' join 
the sands, &c., which this house is on. 

London : December 29, 1831. — A letter from Murchison, 
concurring most warmly in the propriety of my cutting 
King's College after the first course. ' I look to you as my 
successor as President of the Geological Society. I wish 
Phillips may become Professor of Geology at King's College. 
Touching the book, I quite approve of your dedicating this 
part to Broderip, but I shall be not a little mortified if any 
delay, whether caused by devils or angels, should retard the 
publication of the third part beyond my consulate, inas- 
much as I had in the pride of my heart calculated (after what 
you told me) on this dedication, as marking an epoch in my 
life, of which I am justly proud, by the distinction of all 
others most flattering to me, this tribute from my colleague 
and friend.' Another letter was from Whewell, followed the 
day after by his review of my book. Though it is not so 
spirited in style, nor so rich in thought and original matter 
as that in the ' British Critic,' ^ it is very good, enters com- 
pletely into my conception of the subject, sees the bearing of 
the whole on geology, and explains it in a clear way. Sir 
Walter Scott's health improved on his voyage to Malta, but 
they feted him there too much, and he has rather relapsed. 
Mrs. Lockhart is quite overcome at the loss of little John, 
and sees no one. 

December 31, 1831. — I have been walking back from 
Hampstead on a fine frosty night. I feel quite at home at 

" Beview in British Critic on the Principles of Geology, vol. i., by the 
Rev. William Whevrell. 


24 Churcli Eow.' Mrs. Mallet says, ' I am afraid if you do 
not retain your Professor's chair you will not live in London 
by-and-by.' I said it was partly a fear of that, that first 
induced me to court some of&cial place, which should oblige 
me to be in the metropolis of science, for I dreaded it becom- 
ing prudent to live elsewhere, which I knew would be giving 
up my career for ever. I talked with them already over the 
pros and cons like old friends. What a cheerful counten- 
ance hers is ! there is such a happy look, as may gladden any 
one who talks with her. 

If I could secure a handsome profit in my work, I should 
feel more free from all responsibility in cutting my cables at 
King's College. Do not think that my views in regard to 
science are taking a money-making, mercantile turn. What 
I want is, to secure the power of commanding iime to 
advance my knowledge and fame, and at the same time to 
feel that in so doing I am not abandoning the interests of 
my family, and earning something more substantial than 
fame. I am never so happy as when at the end of a week I 
feel I have employed every day in a manner that will tell to 
the rest of my life, and last week will, I think, be one of 

' Residence of John Lewis Mallet, Esq, 





[In January 1832 the second volume of the ' Principles ' was pub- 
lished, and a new edition of the first volume, which was already out of 
print. In this year he married, and made a tour up the valley of the 
Rhine, and visited the Valorsine on his way home through Switzer- 

In 1833 he gave lectures at the Koyal Institution, and revisited 
the Rhine and Bavaria. 

He received the gold medal from the Royal Society for his work 
on the ' Principles of Geology.'] 


January 6, 1832. — I am writing in an unaccustomed place, 
the room in which. Babbage's celebrated machine is con- 
structing — Southwark; for having met him, he proposed to 
me to take a walk here, and has left me while he transacts 
business. He said, ' I am going to give a course of lectures 
at Cambridge.' ' How many P ' ' Four.' ' I thought you 
told me it was loss of time.' ' So I did ; but I am coming 
out with a pamphlet on the Political Economy of Machinery, 
and I mean to discharge it first in a lecture. I would not 
have gone through the work that these four have cost me, 
ifor many times my professional income.' He said that he 
would advise me to try a course of lectures before I judged 
of the degree of interruption they would give me — that he 

362 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

believed the council of King's College would be glad to retain 
me, even if I would only agree to give six lectures in the year. 
As Pitton strongly recommended me not to give it up so 
long as they permit me to do as I like, I incline at present to 
give Otter notice by-and-by that I will not lecture next 
autumn, and that I shall probably not lecture till after 
Easter next year, and must be at liberty then to give as few 
lectures as I like. My second volume is to be laid upon the 
table of the Geological Society this evening. 

I went by appointment to Greenough's, Eegent's Park, 
to get instructions respecting a recent formation examined 
by his friend J. Burton on the shores of the Red Sea. On 
my return I called on the Lockharts, and after a confab with 
him, I went up to her. She was looking much worn by 
anxiety, but I never saw her appear to greater advantage. 
She brought down ' baby,' a child of four years old, who 
broke her arm the other day — getting on very well. I heard 
a long description of the accident. She showed me an ode 
of ten lines written by Wordsworth on her father's leaving 
England, in the highest strain of poetry and very original. 
I shall try to get a copy some day, as it would delight you. 
Another longer ode by the same, on the same subject, was 
good, but in a commoner style and lighter strain. Just as I 
was going, ' Conversation Sharp ' came in. He began to rail 
against Clubs. " Well,' said Mrs. Lockhart, ' I don't know 
what I should do without the Athenaeum. Lockhart is never 
so entertaining as the days he looks in there, and that is five 
times a week, but I don't let him stay there long.' I have 
been gettiug on to-day pretty fairly. Babbage and Fitton 
were so delighted at seeing my volume dedicated to a private 
friend, instead of some great man, that in the effusion of 
their feeling of friendship for Broderip, and their anti-aristo- 
cratic spirit of independence, they came up, and each shook 
me by the hand, saying, ' I am as much obliged to you as if 
you had done me a favour.' 

London: January 7, 1832. — I received a letter from Tom 
this morning, sent when he was just sailing. I shall do all 
I can steadily for him, but poor fellow he has small chance. 
A better officer or mau never lived, or who has roughed it 
more, from being shipwrecked when nearly all were lost, to 

1832. VISIT TO DR. FITTON. 363 

every description of tyranny in the captain. His present 
one is so violent that he has broken more than one five- 
guinea telescope on the heads of the sailors, and sworn at 
his first lieutenant before the crew. His health suffered in 
such a manner on that vile African station, that I dread the 
West Indies. 

I am very fully persuaded of one part of Mr. Cocliburn's 
advice to you — to marry one who earned his bread by his 
labour. At least I am sure, that unless I can feel that I am 
working to some decided end, such as that of fame, money, 
or partly both, I cannot be quite happy, or cannot feel a 
stimulus to that strenuous application without which I 
should not remain content. I am told by most authors that, 
though slow work at first, yet, with a name, one can command 
the booksellers. I certainly feel that my power is increasing, 
though slowly. I fancy that if I am allowed to do little for 
several years, I shall by degrees get up a course of respectable 
length without much fatigue or loss of time ; and knowing, as 
I do, that it is a science that is only beginning to unfold its 
wonders, I hope to continue it always. If I can only earn 
some cash to enable us to travel, it will be a grand point for 
both of us. I propose this summer to go up the Ehine to 
Basle, see the Falls of Schaffhausen, then north of Switzer- 
land or a peep at it, then Ohamouni, and take a run over the 
Simplon, returning perhaps by Mont Cenis or some other 

Mill Hill, Hendon: Sunday. — I came by coach to this 
place after breakfast, passing through Hampstead. Dr. Fitton 
is residing here, at Mr. Wilberforce's house, a most de- 
lightful residence, eleven miles from London. Mrs. Fitton 
and children quite well ; six children. Conybeare and Bab- 
bage the only visitors ; most agreeable ; but not lying 
fallow. Fitton pronounces me to be rabher thin. We have 
had great fun in laughing at Babbage, who unconsciously 
jokes and reasons in high mathematics, talks of the ' alge- 
braic equation ' of such a one's character, in regard to the 
truth of his stories, &c. I remarked that the paint of 
Fitton's house would not stand, on which Babbage said, 
' No ; painting a house outside is calculating by the Index 
minus one,' or some such phrase, which made us stare ; so 

364 S/H CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

that lie said gravely, by way of explanation, ' That is to say, 
I am assuming revenue to be a function.' All this without 
pedantry, and he bears being well quizzed for it. He says 
that when the reform is carried he hopes to be ' the secu- 
larised Bishop of Winchester.' They were speculating on 
what we should do if we were suddenly put down upon the 
planet Saturn. Babbage said, ' You, Mr. Lendon (the 
clergyman there, and schoolmaster, and a scholar), would set 
about persuading them that some language disused in Saturn 
for 2,000 years was the only thing worth learning ; and you, 
Conybeare, would try to bamboozle them into a belief that 
it was to their interest to feed you for doing nothing ! ' 

Fitton's carriage brought us from Highwood House (the 
correct name of his place) to within a mile of Hampstead, 
and then Babbage and I got out and preferred walking. 
Although most enjoyable, yet the staying up till half-past 
one with three such men, and the continual pelting of new 
ideas, was anything but a day of rest. We were disputing 
sometimes on difficult scientific questions, sometimes on other 
topics, Tom Moore's poetry, to wit. I cannot recollect Cony- 
beare's favourite lines, but it is where Moore says to his 
country that his songs on Ireland are not his, but, like ' the 
breeze, they wake the magic that is all thine own.' Babbage 
thought the Irish melodies superior to all the rest, in which 
I agree, and Titton cited these lines : — 

When midst the gay I meet 
> Those gentle smiles of thine, 

Though still on me they tm'n most sweet, 
I scarce can call them mine. 
But when to me alone 
Your secret tears you show, 
Oh, then I feel them all my own, 
And claim them as they flow. 

I am not the better for drinking hock or Rhine wine there 
' to our friends on the Rhine.' I was as temperate as the rest, 
jut that is not saying much. 

January 13, 1832. — Mrs. Mallet thinks your mother the 
most exemplary person she ever met with, for making the 
best of everything, and not giving way at difficulties ; and 
admires much the courage with which she set out to Bonn 


without Mr. Horner, in which I fully concur. I hope we 
shall both of us contrive to cultivate a disposition — which 
David Hume said was better than a fortune of 1,000L a year 
— to look on the bright side of things. I think I shall, and 
believe you will. 

Fitton tells me that they had serious thoughts of putting 
me out of the Council, in order to give me the Wollaston 
medal, but I am glad that this subterfuge is avoided. Besides, 
I would rather avoid at present anything so invidious as a 
prize, and it would be against the spirit of Wollaston's 
bequest. I went to Lockhart's, and on a solicitor coming in 
on business, I went up to Mrs. Lockhart. After an account 
of her visit last week with the children to the Horticultural 
Garden, I said : ' If you had not been there so lately, we 
might have gone together to-day.' ' Can you take me in on 
a Sunday?' 'Yes.' 'Well, then, I'll go again : it will be 
a nice walk this frosty day. Lockhart is going with Mr. 
Murchison to see some pictures, and we will go to the 
garden, and if you can take two ladies, I will ask Miss 
Alexander to accompany us.' So I marched off with my two 
ladies, and they were much pleased. Indeed the gardens 
are much improved and enlarged in the last five months. 
Baby's arm is going on well. At Chelsea I found Somer- 
ville just recovering from a touch of the gout. They were 
right glad to see me after three weeks' non-intercourse. I 
took in my pocket a volume of my work, but found that Dr. 
SomervUle had read it right through, and made notes on it. 
She is looking well, and so are the girls. A walk home in 
a bright moonlight did me much good. I looked in at the 
Athenaeum on my return, to see if any companion was there, 
and I found Stokes just ready to walk home with me. I 
forgot to mention, among my lucubrations, calling on Seharf 
and seeing a fine piece of scene-painting which he has done 
of my panorama of Val del Bove on Etna (nine feet long) 
for King's College lectures, and other scenic decorations. 

Monday. — Whewell called, and is going greatly to improve 
the review. Murchison had pointed out that Omalius 
d'Halloy had based part of his new ' Elements of Geology ' 
on the Lamarckian transmutation system, more than a 
justification of my having expended so much powder and 

366 5-/^ CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

shot upon it, though I did not see O.'s work till I had 
written my first half. As 0. thinks man existed at the old 
coal epoch, and finds authority for it in Genesis, I expect 
Whewell will give him the lash. 

Mrs. Somerrille showed me an interesting letter from 
Ivory, written on receiving her book. He says astronomy 
has gone as far as it can in certain lines, till a new mode of 
calculating is invented, and that may be done. 

London: Tuesday, January 17, 1832. — Sedgwick met me 
to-day, and carried me to his lodging, to show me his maps 
made last year, and his summer's work. ' After you and the 
Oxonians left us, I was kept in Cambridge by a parcel of old 
women, who came there on a visit. What think you ! 
Phillips, E.A., wants me to sit for my picture. Maiden 
blushes suffuse my cheeks : very handsome, no doubt, to paint 
me for nothing, and he says T look best in a black stock. 
Very dry work geologising in Wales, all primary and old 
rocks, like rubbing yourself against a grinding stone.' 

Henslow was at Linnsean. He sent us a beautiful paper 
on a hybrid foxglove, with plates published in Cambridge 
Transactions, the excellence of which cries shame to Oxford, 
which is so far behind, that they cannot attempt to get up 
Transactions on Physical Science. 

Thursday, 19. — Went to the Council. Warburton, Sedg- 
wick, Conybeare, Basil Hall, Murchison, Clift, Broderip, John 
Taylor, Turner, Pitton, Greenough. A grand discussion 
upon the WoUaston medal, and it ended by an admirable 
resolution that ' this year's dividend of the Wollaston fund 
should be paid to Lonsdale, to assist him in continuing his 
survey of the oolite of England.' We must force him to 
undertake field work, or his health will entirely give way, 
and he is so good an observer, that it is a sin to chain him 
to clerk's work and museum arranging. We had a very full 
meeting at the Geological Society, Henslow being there, 
and his famous paper on Anglesea incidentally alluded to, 
Conybeare got up, and quoted some lines from Pindar on 
the feats of the infant Hercules, as he observed that 
Henslow's first paper was such, a masterpiece. At which ' the 
first of men ' rose, and begged to observe, that as mytho- 
logical allusions were introduced, he must inform them that 

1832. ROYAL SOCIETY. 367 

Henslow was mating his first tour with Mm, his master in 
geology, when he went off on that expedition ; so that, like 
Minerva, he had sprung full-armed from the head of Jove ! 

January 24. — A letter from Captain Cooke, R.N., from 
Madrid, dated December 1830. He has been geologising 
until laid up by a kick from his mule. Government there 
more civil to strangers, but robberies increase. 

January 25. — I went to Royal Society last night, the 
fullest and best attended meeting since the Duke was 
President : he was not there. Conybeare introduced me to 
Dr. Pritchard, whom I have cited and eulogised. Chan trey 
said, ' Lyell, I've not seen you an age. I congratulate you on 
your new birth, and on being unlike so many of my friends 
in not looking older for your hard work.' Wollaston said he 
had read to Chapter Thirteen, and was going on most 
diligently. I have not had so many pats on the back I 
don't know when. I had a very good day's work yesterday. 
I think I never do so much as when I have fought a battle 
not to go out. The way to do much and not grow old, is 
to be moderate in going out, to work a few hours or half- 
hours at a time, to have nothing but a pot of porter and a 
chop the days you do not feast, and to go to bed at eleven 
o'clock. But, above all things, to keep out of the excitement 
of politics, which is now raging like a high fever here. 


To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

January 18, 1832. 

My dear Friend, — Sedgwick is in town, and has been rather, 
I should say, wasting his giant strength on a barren primary 
district in Wales, which he owns was like ' rubbing himself 
against a grindstone.' Conybeare is here, and in good 
feather and spirits, but does not seem to have made much 
progress in his promised work on Geology. Henslow is to 
be at the meeting to-night, so I much wish we could see you 
amongst us. Buckland has also promised to come up. 

They say he will give us the Cave book soon, but I shall 
believe it when I see it. Two or three pages of green sand 
fell through Fitton's houv-g'ass, and then to be positively 

368 sm CHARLES LYELL. CHAP. xv. 

talking of giving it up till next vol. ! after printing some- 
thing. How lucky your chalk tables came out ! Buckland 
is reported to have said to his wife, when she asked him what 
he should do for the Bridgewater prize of 1,000^, " Why, my 
dear, if I print my lectures with a sermon at the end, it will 
be quite the thing.' 

I am working hard in the hope of getting out vol. iii. 
before I go abroad, for if I do not, I suppose it will not see 
the light in a great hurry. Ever most truly yours, 

Charles Lyell. 


To Miss Hoenee, 

London: February2, 1832. — At the Somervilles' on Tuesday. 
They were remarking that it was odd that Chantrey and 
Stokes, and Brown the botanist, and Troughton the optician, 
and one or two more whom I forget, are all blind of one eye. 
Mrs. Somerville had nearly finished another volume. I fear 
that it can hardly sell, because, Sedgwick says, so few men 
at Cambridge can go far enough to enter into it. He pro- 
posed to the Philosophical Society of Cambridge to elect 
her, by acclamation, member on receipt of the book, but some 
objected to the manner of doing it. Sedgwick says : ' It is 
most decidedly the most remarkable work published by any 
woman since the revival of learning.' 

February 3. — Just returned from the Geological Society, 
having dined at the club, and since taken an active part in 
a debate, with Sedgwick, Conybeare, De la Becbe, Fitton, 
Greenough, and others — which was prolonged unusually till 
half-past ten o'clock — ' on the old and new red sandstone,' 
and other dryish subjects, which Adam made entertaining. 
The paper was by him. The attendance was quite splendid, 
very numerous, and all the best men there. 

February 4. — To-morrow I expect an agreeable breakfast 
at Stokes's. Captain Hewett is to go there with me, an E.N". 
surveyor, who has been collecting according to my instruc- 
tions in the North Sea, and wants a lesson from Stokes. 
Murchison is to call here on his way, and to talk over some 
sections for a chapter of mine on ' the crag,' one of which I 

1832. Dh\NER AT HAMPSTEAD. 369 

think of borrowing from his last year's note-book. Captain 
Hewett called, and went with me to Stokes's, where we met 
Brown, Murchison, and Captain King. Both the naval men 
gave me many valuable facts in regard to tides, currents, &c. 
Hewett has been reading all the nautical or hydrographical 
parts of my first volume with a critical spirit, and will 
help to correct and amplify for second edition. After 
breakfast Murchison came to my rooms to talk over his 
speech, and go over on a map my intended tour with you. 
He stayed long, and I thought it impossible to get to Hamp- 
stead, but I thought I would try, and they had not sat down 
to dinner. The party were Dr. and Miss Yellolay, 
M. Prevost, Mr. Martin, Mr. Merivale. I thought Yellolay 
very agreeable. He spoke with delight of the last meeting of 
the Geological, and talked of the early days of the Geological 
in Lincoln's Inn Fields, when he and Horner and Laird 
were working together, and when the Medico-Chirurgical 
Society shared apartments with the Geological. He supposed 
that Mr. Horner was now cultivating his old hobby at Bonn, 
desired to be particularly remembered to him, and recurred 
with enthusiasm as we came home to the old times, and to 
Francis Horner, &c. I was much pleased to hear Mrs. 
Mallet talk with such amazing delight of the geological 
lectures which some time ago Webster delivered at Hamp- 
stead. She tells me she could think of nothing else for a 
time but geology, and that she has drawings now from 
recollections made as notes to those lectures, which she is to 
show me some day. 

I have been so wishing that your father was within reach, 
for I woidd give him the rough copy of my chapters in MS., 
and I should be so much benefited by his aid. Brown has 
invited me to read some notes and corrections he has made : 
this is all one can get from him. He will not help one to 
any general views, but if you blunder at all in facts, he will 
correct you. 

February 10, 1832. — I am just returned from the Mur- 
chisons. My favourite, Mrs. Lockhart, was there. She 
told me she had been desperately alarmed for two whole days, 
the little dog Spicey having been missing. We are going 
together on Friday with the children to the museum in 

VOL. I. B B 

370 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

Bruton Street. Mr. and Mrs. Conybeare, T had not seen her 
for many years, ten I think. She is looking well. Mrs. 
Lockhart told me that Hogg was much feted, and told her he 
was dennered on for the end of the month, if the grand 
denners did not kill him fii-st. I took a very small box of 
insects taken last year at Kinnordy to the Linnsean Society, 
and you would have been amused at the sensation created 
by a pair of beetles from Catlaw, our highest Grampian near 
Kinnordy. They proved new, and belonged to a favourite 
family (the carabidw) of a favourite order with all entomolo- 
gists {fhecoleoptera). But I will not trouble you with along 
account of this most glorious discovery, of which I have 
already written a full despatch to Eleanor. Mrs. Mallet has 
certainly a considerable turn for natural history, for she is 
reading my book with more eagerness than most of my 
friends. Have just returned from Royal Society, where a 
paper by my friend Captain Smyth was read, proving that 
the new isle did not rise on, or near the shoal, but in water 
one hundred fathoms deep. So that Prevost's elevation 
crater is in the highest degree improbable or impossible, but 
there is nothing strange in a volcano seven hundred or eight 
hundred feet high. 

Friday morning. — Captain Smj'th ' called immediately 
after breakfasi, and cut up half my morning, which would 
have tried my temper, but for listening to what he had to 
say about the Royal Society, and having renewed by a coze of 
two hours an old acquaintance which I much prize. His 
letters from France have disgusted him with the manner ia 
which the eminent scientific men have thrown up their 
pursuits, and turned place-hunters, even Arago. Smyth has 
an ardent love for science for its own sake, in which his wife 
sympathises most strongly, and I know no people who have 
less worldly-mindedness and low ambition, and real happiness 
and contentment with a small income. Yet it proves that 
there is no great decline of science in England, that Smyth 
has hardly been a loser even in a pecuniary point of view. 

' Admiral Smyth, "b. 1788, d. 1865. Distinguished for his able survey of 
the Mediterranean , and later on for his devotion to astionomical science. He 
erected an observatory at Bedford, and the accuracy of his observations won 
for him the gold medal of the Astronomical Society. 


He miglit ha^e been hydrographer, I am told, and the 
Admiralty voted him a sum of 500L, I believe, for his astro- 
nomical observations. 

February 13, 1832. — Young Murray tells me Mrs. Somer- 
ville's book does not sell at all, and that Brougham had made 
great professions, both to him and his father, of what he 
would do to push it, whereas he has not taken the slightest 
pains to help it. The surprising and fine part of the work is, 
that everything which she there shows she so perfectly 
knows, was acquired for mere pleasure, just as others read a 
poem. The State might award her 5,000L for the benefit 
conferred by a woman who could thus teach what Johnson 
justly called 'the most overbearing of all aristocracies, that 
of mathematicians,' how most of them can be equalled and 
surpassed by a lady who was merely reading for her amuse- 
ment. It is true that there is not mnch display of 
inventive power in the book — not that kind of power, for 
example, which enabled Babbage to invent his machine, but 
there is some I understand. 

I expect that in the course of the next ten years the 
seeds which I have sown in regard to the action of modern 
causes will come up in an abundant crop, aiid stifle all the 
school who delight in what they call ' the poetic mystery ' of 
geological causes. For I find every day the hydrographers 
are coming to me for instructions. I have just drawn up 
some for Captain Fitzroy, who has my book, and is surveying 
in South America. Captains Hewett, Beaufort, King, Vedal, 
and others, are in continual communication. There has been 
1 little talk of getting a bust from Chantrey of Mrs. Somer- 
ville, to be put up in the Royal Society at their expense. 

Mrs. Mallet showed me her geological drawings and sec- 
tions, which are very well copied, and I am sure I could 
soon make her a geologist. I was regretting you were not 
staying with her when she attended Webster's lectures. 
She observed, ' When one has for a long time been remarking 
and wondering at a thing, as I had, at chalk and chalk flints 
at Margate, the first gleam one gets on such a subject is so 
highly interesting.' Now the fact is that most people are 
as a friend of Stokes said, who was bothered with people 
wondering at the comet in 1811, and talking of nothing 

B B 2 

372 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

else. ' Why,' said lie, ' have these people thought of the 
heavens for the first time ? have they always taken the stars 
for granted ? ' Most people would take a chalk flint /or granted, 
and if they had thought and doubted enough of what it 
could be to be delighted when told it was often a silieified 
sponge, it shows that they had minds apt for cultivating 
Natural History, and prone to inquire into ' the causes of 
things ' — which people I believe are bom with in very dif- 
ferent degrees, not by any means in proportion to the talents 
they may happen to have for other pursuits. 

Did I tell you that a Belfast Professor of Divinity, Edgar, 
has been denouncing an unfortunate Dr. Drummond, who 
gave lectures on geology in the Eoyal College there, for 
having declared that ' the changes proved with tolerable cer- 
tainty by geology must have occupied time to which our 
historical eras were as nothing ;' and then the Professor wrote 
to me, as Professor of King's College, to know if the lecturer 
or he was right, expressing great alarm for Christianity if 
such doctrines were true. I shall not go to Murchison's to- 
night, for I am getting round again, and will be very quiet, 
and to-morrow shall do a great day's woi'k again. 

February 19. — On Friday I went to the General Meeting 
and the Anniversary Dinner of the Geological Society, at 
the Crown and Anchor — a splendid meeting. Near the 
President sat Lords Milton, Morpeth, Cavendish ; Sir John 
Malcolm, Sir J. Herschel, Sir J. Johnston, M.P., Sir E. 
Vyvyan, Sir C. Lemon, and other M.P.s. Literature repre- 
sented by Hallam, Lockhart, Sotheby, &c. Geologicals — 
Buckland, Conybeare, Fitton, Greenough, Sedgwick. Then 
from Cambridge, Whewell, and many other good men. All 
the best geological residents in town. Murchison was ill, 
but got through the fatigue very respectably indeed. All the 
speeches were short, and many of them able. I was glad 
when mine was over, but Murchison made my reply easy, 
by giving me something to say off-hand, as he told them he 
should say nothing of my book till the evening ; and I told 
them I should follow the President's example, in thinking 
that they would have enough of me if they heard of me once 
in a day. Hallam asked to be introduced, and talked of 
Bonn friends. Ferguson of Eaith asked me to walk with 


him from tlie tavern to Somerset House, and asked after 
you all. There were about one hundred and thirty at the 
dinner, and a hundred of them picked men. When I came 
•up here on Wednesday morning, I found your father in town. 
He drank tea with me in the erening. The Eoyal Society 
has actually engaged Chantrey to make a bust of Mrs. 
Somerville — a very gracions proceeding — and they sent a 
deputation to communicate their wish that she would sit 
for it. At Cambridge, too, I am told it has been decided 
that it shall be a class-book. So I hope it will sell, though 
slowly, and certainly it will now be useful. 

I heard this morning that Senior means to give up not 
only the chair of Political Economy at King's College, but 
to abandon the course of lectures he had promised — nine in 
number; his reason being that he is appointed Commis- 
sioner for inquiring into Irish Tithes, &c. I shall consider 
Senior's withdrawing as the loss of the man whom I had 
most satisfaction of being a colleague with, as one of known 
talent, and well known at Oxford. 

March 16, 1832. — An excellent party at Murchison's last 
night — many at dinner, and the rest came early, and evi- 
dently to a thing they enjoyed — very select. ' The first of 
men, Adam,' alias Sedgwick ; Mrs. Somerville, the first of 
women, not of the blue ; Schlegel, Brewster {now Sir David), 
Babbage, Dr. Somerville, Conybeare; Lords Morpeth and 
Wentworth (Lord Milton's son), and Upton his tutor; Sir 
John Johnston, M.P. for Yorkshire, and his lady, who was a 
Miss Vernon Harcourt ; a sister of here, a very pretty lively 
girl. Sedgwick as usual was in rhapsodies with her, and 
talked to me of her all the way home. 

I put my name down yesterday for two guineas to Mrs. 
Somerville's bust. About 801. subscribed — 2001. required. 
It will soon be filled up, and if not, Chantrey says he would 
happily put down the rest himself. 

Murchieon is one who has worked at science chiefly for 
the rewards, but not entirely, for if he had had no pleasure 
in it he would have failed. Sedgwick and Conybeare for the 
pleasure chiefly. What I shall always cherish, is a love for 
science, rather than its rewards ; but I indulge the hope of 
profit, as the best earnest of usefulness, and also of protec- 

374 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

tion against its becoming a duty to accept some offer of an 
uncongenial situation. 

Dr. Wollaston and Mrs. Somerville, of whom I have seen 
miich, were very useful in ' mortifying ' in me much of the 
vanity which I formerly had, and I think they were two 
kindred minds, and ought to have been united. She has 
done a real service to science, by showing many who are 
proud of inferior achievements what can be done by one of 
no pretensions. Of course there are some who are jealous 
of the homage paid to her. I hear every week of some one 
who says : ' What has Mrs. Somerville done in the way of 
invention? what is she but an expounder of La Place? ' I 
cannot judge of her inventive talents as displayed in this 
work, and I don't suppose she has exercised them, but she 
has worked in all that has been done since La Place, and 
doing that is an enormous work. Undoubtedly the highest 
honours are due to original discoveries and inventions, and 
nothing is so rare as inventive talent, which Wollaston for 
one possessed ; but her introduction proves she has it, and 
how little hers has been called into action ! At least there 
are not live persons in this country that could have written 
her book, if that number. 

Sedgwick has declined a living of 1,100?. a year offered 
by Brougham, on the ground of not being able to retain 
his professorship with it. I hardly rejoice at it, except for 
the cause of science. As a votary of geology, Sedgwick of 
course must not exchange a fellowship of 430i. a year, and a 
chair of 200^, for a cure of souls of l,100i. It was merely a 
question of marriage : as a bachelor, he would be mad to 
exchange a college life, and his position in the University 
and in science, for becoming a country parson. Some will 
say that Sedgwick is old enough now to remaiu a bachelor. 
He is forty-seven, and from what he told me of his hopes and 
feelings on the subject of matrimony a year and a half ago, 
I believe he would be much happier, and would eventually 
do much more for geology. I warmly remonstrated with 
Murchison for advising Sedgwick to decline ; and on giving 
my matrimonial reasons, got finely quizzed, as you may sup- 
pose, and they have been bantering me ever since. As to 
Sedgwick getting a stall, I hope he will. It should have been 


giveu before, but the Whigs may cease to reign, and he will 
not cease to grow older — and 1,100L a year is not a bad 
thing to have to give wp to a chancellor in exchange. 

I gave Mrs. Mallet an invitation to my introductory 
lecture, with which she was much pleased, and pressed Mr. 
Mallet into the service immediately. I wish half my 
audience may be as intelligent listeners. 

Tuesday. — Lord Milton was at Murchison's on Sunday, 
and it was lucky for Curtis the entomologist, for he was 
introduced, and Lord Milton also talked to him of his own 
insect-hunting as a boy, and how he knew the Yorkshire 
species now, and how fond his sons were of it, whom he 
would bring to see his collection. Sedgwick asked me to 
walk home with him. I found a gloom upon him, unusual 
and marked. I most carefully avoided all allusion to the 
rejected living, but now when the first excitement of the 
declining the boon is over, and that others have expressed 
their wonder at it, and that he finds himself left alone with 
his glory, he is dejected. He told me, Thursday last, that he 
wished before he left Cambridge to do something. ' Now if 
I take a living instead of going to Wales, I abandon my 
professorship, and cannot get out the volume on the primary 
rocks with Conybeare,' &c. Then he hinted that in a year, 
when this is done, he may retire on some living, and marry. 
But I know Sedgwick well enough to feel sure that the work 
won't be done in a year, nor perhaps in two ; and then a 
living, &c., won't be just ready, and he is growing older. 
He has not the application necessary to make his splendid 
abilities tell in a work. Besides every one leads him astray. 
A man should have some severity of character, and be able 
to refuse invitations, &c. The fact is, that to become great 
in science, a man must be nearly as devoted as a lawyer, and 
must have more than mere talent. 

As I was much amused with Power, in an Irish character, 
on the night I heard Miss Kemble, I went again to the 
Adelphi to hear Yates for a couple of hours, which is as long 
as I like to be at a play, and got home and in bed by eleven 
o'clock. I have enjoyed parties, and two plays this last 
month very much, because it was recreation stolen from 

376 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap, xv. 

work ; but the difficulty in the country is, that on the con- 
trary, one's hours of work are stolen from dissipation. 

Wrote to your father on geological queries of Dr. Fitton 
— frank from D. Gilbert. His brother-in-law, Guillemard, 
came to ask me to come down a fortnight hence into the 
country with him. I refused with pain, but it is only by 
resolution of this kind that anything can be done. I always 
reflect that if I had a recognised profession, all the world 
would think me right, as called upon to be equally un- 
friendly ; therefore, as I am determined to make science a 
profession, I will do it. In the end they will think me right. 

Another day nearly gone and not through chapter i.,- so 
short a one too ! But in it I am grappling not with the 
ordinary arm of flesh, but with principalities and powers, 
with Sedgwick, Whewell, and others, for my rules of philoso- 
phising, as contra-distinguished from them, and I must put 
on all my armour. 

I found on my return three small volumes from Basil 
Hall — voyages, travels, second series ; most diverting — not 
yet out, though reviewed three weeks ! Stokes remarked to 
me that his enthusiasm about my first volume, and the 
manner in which he went about, when I was in the Pyrenees, 
crying it up as the finest thing ever written, was anything 
but that of an egotist entirely absorbed in his own literary 
works. He read it at the Athenaeum till some one told him 
he kept it too long, and then he bought it, and they say 
thought and talked of nothing else but my geology for a 
month. I had met him at a relation's four years before in 
Angus, but was never intimate till my return from France. 
The first thing he said to me on my return was, ' Lyell, I 
never thought you had it in you to write such a book. I 
don't mean as a geologist, but as a writer. That passage 
about Vesta and Tivoli might do for the style of any English 
writer — nothing in Playfair beyond it,' &c. I was more 
pleased with a compliment as to style from Basil Hall,^ than 
I should have been with an eulogy as to general views. In 
the former he excels, in the latter he is usually virrong ; and 

2 Captain Basil Hall, E.N. Author of FragmenU of Voyages and Travels. 
See Appendix A. 

1832. DR. MANTELL. 377 

when he goes East, 'tis a sure indication that the true course 
is West. 

Mantell was at Geological Society, and came home with 
me — in much better spirits, though overworked. I think he 
will soon flit to Brighton. He announces that a diploma for 
me from Philadelphia is soon to arrive. 

Mantell is to be here in two hours to spend the evening, 
a great pleasure, for he is an old geological friend. I went 
and introduced myself to him on a tour a cheval, with a spare 
shirt or two in my pocket, in one of the Oxford long vaca- 
tions ; and having previously seen the Isle of Wight, ventured 
to question the whole arrangement of the Sussex beds below 
the chalk, which Greenough and Buckland, then the top 
authorities, had given Mantell, who looked up to them as 
infallible guides. Fitton afterwards confirmed my arrange- 
inent and acknowledged it in print, and I got great credit 
for it with Mantell, who being unable to travel and compare 
countries, but doing wonders in his small field of observation, 
was obliged to depend on others for more extensive genera- 
lisations. I have watched his gradual professional rise with 
much interest, and look forward to see him a great Brighton 
if not London surgeon. 

March .31. — I am knocked up a little to day, and half 
meditate going to Hampstead and taking the Mallets by 
surprise ; for Sundays are Murchison's evenings, and to- 
morrow Mrs. Somerville is there, and I don't like to go 
and come away late. I have paid 20L for compounding to 
Zoological Society, so now I have compounded to all the 
Societies — a good thing over, instead of being bothered by 
annual payments. 

April 7. — Last night at the Eoyal Society Sir J. Eennie 
told me that he and his engineers used my first volume as a 
text-book, and all I said of currents, &c., he had found true 
in examining harbours, estuaries, &c., professionally ; and he 
offered to send me a MS. with facts bearing on power of 
running water, &c. Thus, he said, below old London Bridge 
bhe current descending through the arches has hollowed out 
the bed of the river to the depth of thirty-seven feet at low 
water (the ordinary depth of the Thames elsewhere is only 
seven feet), and this for sixty yards below bridge. I have 

378 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

been so long off the hydrographical part of my book, that 
this news was very cheering. 

Went to Loddige's garden yesterday with Stokes and 
Broderip, to see 100,000L worth of Camellia Japonica in full 
blow — a wonderful sight. Belgian affairs hurt their sale. 
All the naturalists here are much grieved about Holland, 
as they say the king did so much for natural history, far 
more than any other sovereign. 

A^ril 10. — Yesterday morning I ran out to Kingston Hill, 
where the farm of the Zoological Society is situated, to try 
by walking about there to get rid of a slight headache. I 
took Hall,^ who wanted much some country air, with me, 
putting him on the outside of the coach at nine o'clock, while 
I went in. At ten o'clock we were in the farm of thirty-five 
acres. Beautiful ground, a view like that from Richmond 
Hill, down into the rich vale. Saw the Kangaroos, Quaggas, 
Emus, and other birds and beasts, which are there breeding. 
After walking an hour, went to the adjoining Combe Wood, 
classical ground to entomologists, of which I had often read, 
but never before visited. Saw some insects there, but as the 
old keeper whom we met in the wood (once himself a collector 
and dealer) said, ' London is walking out into Combe Wood, 
and two houses (villas) building in the middle, and all the 
underwood cut,' &c. 

You asked me in one of your letters how I liked 
Schlegel — so little, that I avoided him. I met him three 
times, and exchanged some words each time. He is full of 
conceit, talks incessantly and of everything, not like Hum- 
boldt, whose loquacity bored some people, but never me, be- 
cause unmixed with self-conceit, like Schlegel's. He called 
at Chelsea and annoyed Mrs. Somerville. He wanted to be 
pressed, he said, to lecture at the Eoyal Institution, and 
wished to know if he could be seen from all parts of the 
theatre, because the change of the expression of his counten- 
ance would add great effect to his delivery of certain pas- 
sages ; and, ' I will lecture in French, for although I read and 
speak English well, I should be more at home in T'rench.' 

A'^il 14. — The old keeper, formerly a regular entomolo- 
gical collector, who I mentioned having met with in Combe 

' His clerk. 

1832. BUTTERFLIES. 379 

Wood last Sunday, was quite a character. ' When there 
were but a few gentlemen,' said he, ' who cared for insects, 
they gave any price for rarities. I remember a red beetle 
with long horns that sold for two guineas ; and once at tlie 
bottom of an old stnmp, just by that copse, sir, I found a 
quantity of them, and there was an end of they.' That is to 
say, their market yalue was destroyed. Now that entomolo- 
gists have multiplied, who really care for things, not because 
rare, but for the study of them, they scarcely ever buy, but 
exchange with one another. In another part of the wood 
we met with two youths who had purchased a regular in- 
strument made for digging for chrysalises at the roots of 
trees. Think of an invention for that purpose ! One of the 
youngsters said to me, ' What have you seen to-day ? ' I said, 
' Urticse,' the common tortoiseshell butterfly ; to which he 
replied, ' I have seen Gonepteryx rhamni,' the yellow brim- 
stone papilio. I was rather pleased with this adventure, be- 
cause it was a cold ungenial day, and it required all this to 
make me believe that it was really the Combe Wood that I 
had read of as a boy. We found some black beetles, and I 
found that Hall remembered the exact names — it is wonder- 
ful how fond he is of entomology. I should never make him 
take to geology in the same way. He has planned himself 
a nice wire net-hoop, which goes into his hat, and takes out 
and fits into a walking-stick. To-day Lt. Graves dined with 
Broderip, and I joined them at dinner, sending, in old college 
fashion, wine down to Broderip's rooms. He is a thorough 
good sailor, and a naturalist ; sent by the Admiralty to survey 
Loch Neagh in Ireland, and going out to the Grecian Archi- 

It was curious enough that I should have met Spedding 
just as I was turning into King's College Chapel, because 
about two months ago we were saying what a complete 
failure that same chapel was of Smirke's, not being even so 
much like a place of religious worship as most conventicles. 
Spedding and I had been accustomed to those two beautiful 
chapels, Lincoln's Inn and the Temple, where the service is 
admirably performed ' in all the beauty of holiness,' as 
David would have said, and the preachers excellent — Lloyd, 
Heber, Maltby, and many other eminent men being the 

380 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

preachers there, since I remember. I think there is much 
in the association of the building, and our chapels at Oxford 
are so beautiful. 

Afril 21. — I cannot imagine anything more afflicting 
than such a death as poor Mrs. W.'s,^ and believe that in such 
a case the only state of mind in which a person of real 
feeling can find the least comfort is that of religious resig- 
nation. It matters comparatively little, as far as that con- 
solation is concerned, how many erroneous dogmas and 
absurd rites are connected with the religion, provided its 
professors do not see through their fallacy. All I wonder at 
is, that enlightened and inquiring minds can, even by aid of 
early association, reconcile themselves sufficiently to some 
parts of the Catholic creed and ceremonies. If it were not, 
however, for the proneness of the people to superstition, and 
their gullibility, I should like a good deal of ceremonial. I 
like our English service so much better than the Scotch. 1 
know some religious Frenchmen, who say they would turn 
Protestants if we did not believe so much the same as 
Catholics, and that our creed is not much more philosophical 
than theirs. I almost wonder how some of your German 
friends can be such staunch Catholics and so tolerant. I 
have sometimes thought that if all the world should become 
Christian, and be as divided into sects as we now are, and as 
tolerant as the Prussians, we should come round once more 
to the opinion of the Romans, who most sincerely believed 
' that all religions were true ' — tha.t the gods or saints of all 
and every people were fheir gods, and that their forms of 
worship were true, and worthy of veneration, though some 
more and some less. That they were all, in short, modes of 
adoring Him whom, as St. Paul says, ' we ignorantly worship.' 
Talking of sects, a curious thing has happened here. The 
Society of Useful Knowledge started a penny magazine a 
month ago, admirably done and very entertaining, and with 
a good moral tone. They sell 80,000 copies — an unexampled 
success — well illustrated and remarkably cheap. The Dis- 
senters have been so cut out in the sale of their innujnerable 
tracts, that they preached against the magazine, and thus 
doubled its sale. The Church party could not help liking 
' The wife of a Professor at Bonn. 


what the Dissenters disliked, and so they rather patronise 
the concern. 

Wednesday. — A letter from Kinnordy from your father, 
and was much delighted to find he was at last domiciled 
there. He begs hard of me to sit for a portrait to Richmond. 
When Mrs. Horner first asked it, I spoke to Wright, who 
did those likenesses so well for Phillips, E.A., biit I was so 
pressed for time, I gave it up. If I do it, I shall go to 
Wright, at your mother's old request. A north-country 
attorney called this morning with a brief. He expressed great 
admiration of my work on geology, and said it was thought 
much of in the north. I declined the brief, though he tried 
to persuade me that as it was merely an opinion wanted on 
a simple road question, I might without scruple pocket the 
fee. Of course I might have got a friend to do it, but I 
have cut my cables, and now I will stand firm by one 
business, and one only. If nothing untoward happens, you 
will see I shall turn it yet to profit as well as fame. 

April 24.- A letter from Elizabeth. Very sorry Mr. 
Horner was gone, very dull without him. He was a great 

May 1. — I am just returned from Hampstead. Have 
walked home with Herman Merivale, whom I like as a well- 
informed man, and particularly in a tete-a-tete. He is, I 
think, very remarkable for his age, in the accuracy and 
extent of his acquirements. I like him, too, especially as a 
brother Oxonian, for the warmth of his advocacy of the 
more general cultivation of all branches of science, especially 
against the Oxford exclusive system. 

Wednesday. — Grand disputes at the Geological Society 
about the propriety of admitting ladies to my lectures. Bab- 
bage most anxious to bring his mother and daughter and 
Lady Guildford; Harris to bring Lady Mary Kerr ; and so on. 
I begged them all not to do so, and they promised ; but at last 
Murchison said, ' My wife, however, must come. I promised 
to bring her, and she would be much disappointed. I will 
not bring her till the doors are closed.' Then they all 
declared they would too, and so bring the affair to a crisis 
one way or other. 

Friday. — Prepared yesterday a new lecture. The ladies, 

382 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

Dr. Fitton, aad others have been assailing Dr. D'Oyly and 
others of the King's College Council to admit ladies, and 
they seemed disposed. At all events I am likely to have a 
large audience to-day. Only nineteen subscribers up to 
yesterday, but I met with Spedding, who said, " I am going 
to subscribe. Ignorant as I am, I followed you so well that 
you have really /orceti me, at great inconvenience to my law 
studies, to attend.' His and many other names are not 
down yet. 

Tuesday. — I have most completely succeeded in my second 
lecture, which was liked much more than the first. I tell 
you these things freely, because you know it is not from 
vanity, and only between ourselves. I worked hard upon 
the subject of the connection of geology and natural theology, 
and pointed out that the system which does not find traces 
of a beginning, like the physical astronomer, whose finest 
telescope only discovers myriads of other worlds, is the most 
sublime ; and as there is no termination to the view as regards 
space of the acts of creation, and manifestations of divine 
power, so also in regard to time, &c.; concluding with a truly 
noble and eloquent passage from the Bishop of London's 
inaugural discourse at King's College, in which he says that 
truth must always add to our admiration of the works of the 
Creator, that one need never fear the result of free inquiry, 
&c. I did not the least, in the opinion of Fitton and 
Babbage, compromise the utmost freedom of the philosopher ; 
while Lonsdale, the Archbishop's secretary. Archdeacon 
Cambridge, Otter, and others were most exceedingly pleased. 
Mrs. SomerviUe and Mrs. Murchison were there. The pro- 
fessors mustered very strong in honour of me to-day, and 
the number of gowns, to an old Oxonian, looked most re- 
spectable and dignified. You don't know how, from old 
association, we attach respect^ order, academical rank, &c., to 
these insignia. For my part, though I don't care about them 
at King's College, I cannot believe that I should look back 
to Oxford with as much regard but for these dresses. They 
become so interwoven with all our ideas of college, as much 
as a military costume to an officer. T slept ill last night, 
but no coming lecture will ever discompose me again. Jelf 
the clergyman, and his brother the lawyer and others, 

1832. REFORM BILL. 383 

pressed me to publish the lecture. D'Oyly thanked me for 
the benefit I had conferred on King's College, &c- 

May 7, 1832. — Went up to Hampstead, did not find Mrs. 
Mallet, but wrote her a note, offering her free entrance to 
my lecture-room, with two other ladies. Dined at Chelsea, 
and asked Mrs. Somerville to come to my lectures, and her 
two daughters. She said she was charmed with the effect 
my first lecture produced on Martha and Mary. They never 
would read before, but when they came home they set to 
work in earnest at mv two volumes, and examined each 
other on the points of the lecture. The Somervilles are to 
come regularly. Then to Murchison's soiree — very full. 
Many had objected, or rather some, to the last part of my 
lecture, as too free ; but Babbage and others had converted 
almost all to think with them of the good I had done, &c. 
Walked home with Stokes, rather late. 

I begin to flatter myself that I am, as Liibbock said last 
night, when he came down from the R.S. chair, doing good 
to science by these lectures, which at all events are talked of 
over London, but politics are of course the chief and absorb- 
ing subject. I am going to Uncle Lloyd's to dine, so if I do 
anything to-day to the book, it must be between this and 
dinner ; so let me not play the dog in the fable, and lose the 
substance by catching at the shadow — the solid reputation 
in many countries which my work maj' earn, for the excit- 
ing ready-money profit and applause of a lecture-room. 

A letter just arrived from J. Murray, jumping at my 
proposed reprint, and only doubting between 750 and 1,000 
copies for next fourteen months. Bravo ! Lord Tyrconnel 
has been begging me to give a glossary of such words as 
tertiary, and says it will sell hundreds more. I suspect it 
will, but fear delay. I shall set Martha and Mary ^ to make 
a list of hard words. I am in for thirteen lectures in con- 
sequence of repeating the first : if I can cram in three in one 
week I will do so. 

Last night, in the House of Commons, Sir Robert Inglis 

declared that if the Duke of Wellington, now Premier, and 

trying to form an administration, takes up the Reform Bill 

as reported, all character and morality in public men will 

' The Miss Somervilles. 

384 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

for ever be destroyed. Baring said no administration could 
be formed but by reform. In short it seems impossible for 
the Duke to make an effective cabinet, and not impossible 
that Lord Grey may be recalled. Of course with the Tories 
so divided, and a majority of eighty in the House of Com- 
mons for reform, great concessions must be Sedg- 
wick being at my lecture, I took a shot at him, which 
amused Fitton, and made him come up laughing after lec- 
ture, and shake me by the hand. Murchison said to-day, 
' I don't know when they will leave off saying the last is the 
best lecture of all.' Every one can hear every word, even most 
distant benches. Sotheby came to-day, Malthus Junior, the 
Deanof Carlisle, only Dr. and Misses Somerville: shecamenot, 
being rather unwell. Such inquiries for her by strangers, as 
since her work was reviewed in the Edinburgh (for Herschel's 
in Q. E.. is not yet out) she has been the great lion in town. 
How strange that people never knew before that she could 
have done all this ten years sooner ! They knew it in France. 
I have told Murchison I cannot be President. He remon- 
strated, and was sorry, but I was firm, and I suspect he 
thinks me right. It is just one of those temptations the 
resisting of which decides whether a man shall really rise 
high or not in science. For two more years I am free from 
hs affaires administj-atives, which, said old Brochart in his 
late letter to me, have prevented me from studying geology (i'ltwe 
maniere suivie, whereby you have carried it already so far.' The 
Duke of Wellington has been unable to make a ministry : so 
much the better, so Lord Grey and the rest are back again. 

Tour father will tell you what an actor-like sort of cele- 
brity my lectures obtain me, but I will look to something 
more solid. I am not improving my work and my own mind 
by them so much as by tranquil uninterrupted study. As I 
have renounced being President of the Geological Society, 
so will I write to Otter that I do not pledge myself to 
give any lectures next year, waiting till the second edition of 
my whole work is ready for press, and I will give him all my 
reasons — being all connected with my pursuing my original 
researches without disturbance, until this work is accom- 
plished, and got out in its permanent form. Murray says it 
must be printed in a cheap form, which I am glad to hear. 


Fitton said, ' I'm so sorry I missed you last time, when the 
world says you floored Buckland.' As Babbage expressed it in 
a note, ' tore BucHand's theory to tatters before his face.' 
But I must say B. showed liis good sense, for he has been 
more good-humoured since. But he and Sedgwick & Co. 
blaze away at me so, I can but retaliate. I pronounced my 
eloge on Cuvier to-day, and a digression on the comparative 
state of advancement of natural history in Trance and 
England, and quoted Herschel and Babbage on the decline of 
science, &c. The episode was, I fear, rather too long in pro- 
portion to the geological part of the lecture, but I am rather 
glad to have unburdened myself. 

May 27. — You cannot think how Marianne and Caroline 
were charmed with Mrs. Mallet for her frank manners, and 
the soul with which she entered into everything. Babbage 
wrote me a note about my last lecture which I was glad of. 
I doubted whether my eloge of Cuvier, and my comparison 
of French and English systems of cultivating science, had 
been popular. It seems they were, especially the former, 
and the latter cried up by Babbage & Co. with enthusiasm. 

One can only please one party in some things. He wants 
me to print it, but I shall not be drawn into controversies 
of the kind. Babbage in his note, enumerating distin- 
guished German savans to whom we cannot show any equals 
in their respective branches, reckons up many names of 
astronomers and others, whom I never heard of, and at last 
one, who he says has just married and become rich, and all 
agree is doing and likely to do nothing. We have at least 
no danger on one score, that of being rich, which I am sure, 
much as money is wanted in science, does stop men's careers 
more than anything, and gives them innumerable duties, by 
which they become stewards of their property, rather than 
men who have time to devote to philosophical pursuits. By 
withholding the temptation of the President's chair and the 
lectures at E. C. next year, I shall, 1 think, have done two 
virtuous acts of self-denial, but they will require to be 
backed by still greater ; for precisely in proportion to my 
not having any of those public and ostensible engagements 
to plead, will be the difficulty of fighting off the importu- 
nities to idleness with which I shall be assailed. Did I tell 

VOL, I. c G 

386 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xv. 

you to what a fit of desperation tlie interruptions of genial 
Oxford liave at last driven Buckland ? Literally obliged to 
hire another house out of town, five miles, and to leave his 
library and other conveniences ! Had he not got the 1,000/. 
we should never have had another volume from him ; but, 
luckily for his fame, it became at last his duty, and he was 
driven to the plunge. The loss of time in travelling to his 
library, and going for books of reference, will be immense. 
I think I should have given out that I was dying, and fee'd 
a physician to have given bulletins. But then one's relations 
would not have kept the secret. I reckon that the loss of 
time, of reference even now and then to one book, as far off 
as G.S. from me, is so great, that it is cheaper in general to 
buy. Only think of his going five miles from his books ! 

Otter said to me, ' You will find that when you are 
married you will do a great deal more in geology than as 
a single man, particularlj' as you will be able to follow it up 
most successfully as a profession.' 

1832. a:ing's college lectures. 387 


JUNE 1832-APEIL 1834. 


To Charles Babbage, Esq. 

2 Eaymond Buildings, Gray's Inn: June S, 1832, 

Ml dear Babbage, — I proposed to Eitton to take up the 
lectures on geology, as my friend and representative at King's 
College next year, wbile I am completing my education and 
work ; and in a kind spirit he has at first sight of it agreed. 
He could begin with Maestricht beds just where I end, and I 
really know no one whom I would allow of all the London 
geologists to teach in my place so soon as Eitton, as he 
enters so fully into the spirit of the ' modern cause ' system. 

Otter is delighted with the idea, having paid me the 
compliment of being quite down in the mouth at my not lec- 
turing next year. Eitton will consult you, so take care you 
are not the cause inadvertently of his gibbing. Ton know 
how many years we have been in getting him to let out his 
knowledge, and this would be a most effective vent, and we 
should all profit. To me, of course, it would be falling on 
my legs most agreeably. 

Ton will be glad to hear there are symptoms of repent- 
ance in regard to the hasty resolution of the council at K. C. 
against the admission of ' women.' I have said nothing in 
remonstrance, but they have made the discovery. 

c c 2 

388 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvi. 

I have worked in the Temple of Serapis, and will soon 
send back the books, &c. The Balaims is B. sulcatus ; the 
Area I have not yet got at. 

Ever truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To G. Mantell, Esq. 

June 14, 1832. 

My dear Mantell, — My lectures were splendidly attended. 
I have shown the public, and made the discovery myself, that 
I can do the thing, and it may yet provide travelling money. 
But I shall not give much time to it, at least for several 
years. When the course was over, I received from some of 
the class whom I never saw, most enthusiastic letters, ex- 
pressive of their admiration and gratitude. This is worth 
much — especially as they had the good taste not to applaud 
in the theatre. 

Buckland was really powerful last night on the Megathe- 
rium — a lecture of an hour before a crowded audience : only 
standing room for a third. Lots of anatomists there ; paper 
by Clift ; the gigantic bones exhibited, and stiU to be seen 
th€re, but likely to be removed by-and-by. Buckland made 
out that the beast lived on the ground by scratching for yams 
and potatoes, and was covered like an armadillo by a great 
coat of mail, to keep the dirt from getting into his skin, as 
he threw it up. As he was as big as an elephant, the notion 
of some that he burrowed under ground must be abandoned. 
' We may absolve him from the imputation of having been a 
borough-monger ; indeed, from what I before said, you will 
have concluded that he was rather a radical.' He concluded 
with pointing out that as the structure of the sloth was beau- 
tifully fitted for the purpose for which he was intended, so 
was the megatherium for his habits. ' Buffon therefore, and 
Cuvier even, in describing the sloth as awkward, and Cuvier 
the megatherium, erred. They are as admirably formed aa 
the gazelle,' &c. It was the best thing I ever heard Buck- 
Ian do. 

Most truly yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

1832. HIS MARRIAGE. 389 

To His Sistee. 

Bonn : July 3, 1832. 

My dear Maria, — The grand day ' is at last fixed for the 
12th inst. Professor Sack, the Protestant clergyman (or 
Lutheran, as they say here), agreed to put off his lecture in 
order to oblige us. He appears to be a very superior man ; 
indeed, I should think, from what I have seen, that the dif- 
ferent departments were generally very well represented in 
the university here, and the Government seems very liberal. 
They tell me the king gives 14,000L sterling a-year for the 
Botanic Garden. The Professors have to lecture nine months 
in the year — too much, I should think, for allowing time for 
due advancement of the teacher. On Monday we had a 
grand expedition to Godesberg. All we ten, Miss Parker 
included, Mrs. Barton (widow of a General Barton), her 
daughter, Mr. Frederick Windischmann, a gentlemanlike 
young son of a Bonn Geheimrath, and Count Schlabrendorf, 
eldest son of a rich Silesian noble, a young student. Godes- 
berg is looking most delightful now, and the scenery, both 
the home views and the distant, are scarcely equalled by 
those of any single spot I know. 

I have exchanged calls with Schlegel, and as I hear he 
is reading Eossetti in earnest, and much interested in it, I 
hope he will give my father the benefit of some of his own 
comments upon it. 

Your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Axhern (near Strasburg) : July 20, 1 833. 

My dear Eleanor, — I hope to send this letter from Stras- 
burg to-morrow, and shall first take up the diary from Hei- 
delberg, which we stayed at on the 18th. Leonhard was 
very attentive, showed me part of his collection, and begged 
his wife to take mine, to a fine view from a neighbouring 
hill ; then went with us to the castle, showing me by the way 
some geological sections, which, added to my short excursion 
' His marriage with Miss Horner. 

•^90 s/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvi. 

to the Felsenmeer, have enabled me to obtain something like 
a fair notion of the Odenwald, both its scenery and geology. 
I then introduced Mary to Bronn, Professor of Natural His- 
torj', and learnt some geology from him of the country in a 
different department from Leonhard's. Next day, the 19th, 
to Carlsruhe, making a delightful detour on the road, up a 
small valley leading from the plain up into the Odenwald 
hills, where I went to see a singular deposit, called 'loess' 
provineially, filled with recent species of land shells, and 
which is peculiar to the Rhine valley, found at Bonn, Stras- 
burg, and hundreds of intermediate places. The Bergstrasse, 
I should tell you, is a line of road running nearly north and 
south along the foot, first of the Odenwald, as from Darm- 
stadt to past Heidelberg, then of the Schwartzwald, another 
chain of mountains, which we have seen all to-day in coming 
from Carlsruhe to this. The plain of the Rhine is nearly as 
flat as that of the Po, and like it composed of horizontal beds 
of gravel and sand, hundreds of feet deep at least, but depth 
unknown. The mountains are of inclined strata of older 
rocks. If you keep in the plain it is like sailing on the sea 
and having a distant view of an adjoining isle, or main- 
land ; and Mary was not sorry that my geological tastes 
have led me severaj times to land, and make short trips 
into the interior. This morning we saw the palace at Carls- 
ruhe, and then returned to the Bergstrasse, making an 
excursion up the valley of the Murg, and from that to 
Baden-Baden, the pleasantest German watering-place I have 

With love to all, your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Mother. 

Strasburg : July 22, 1832. 
My dear Mother, — Voltz, a mining engineer of this place, 
and a good geologist, gave us a famous view of the Museum 
here on our arrival yesterday ; after which I went with Mary 
up the tower of the Cathedral, and saw a fine panorama of 
the great plain of the Rhine, with the Schwarzwald on one 
side and the Vosges on the other, rising rapidly from the 

1832. THE VOSGES. 391 

plain. On the north tlie plain is uninterrupted, but looking 
south you see a small group of rocks rising like an island 
from a sea midway between the Vosges and Black Forest. 
This group is the Kaiserstuhl, which T am told is an ancient 
volcano — a submarine one though, and ancient enough. I 
was thinking of seeing it, but as it would cost a day or two 
more, I will not go. Voltz has recommended me to go by 
all means to Berne, as Studer is now there, who is by far the 
best geologist of Switzerland. As the excursions into the 
Odenwald and Black Forest have repaid us so well (me in 
geology, and Mary in seeing the country), I was glad to see 
a little of the opposite coasts, or the Vosges. Voltz gave 
me a plan of a trip for to-day to Soulz-aux-bains, or Soulz- 
bad, which is at the foot of the Vosges, where I saw many 
quarries of rocks, which compose a great part of the Vosges. 
It was a delightful drive, first over the plain, then a hilly 
country, behind which the mountains rose boldly. The cos- 
tume of the peasants amused Mary exceedingly, and I was 
delighted by a dance which they had at an inn. The music 
was excellent, and the waltzing and gallopading by no means 
to be despised. They seemed so happy and so superior to 
our peasants in the refinement of these holiday pleasures, 
that I could not but dwell on the unfavourable contrast. I 
always fancied that Strasburg was on the Rhine, and mar- 
velled to find that we left the river and found that the city 
only communicated with it by means of a small canal. The 
number of the National Guard (6,000), together with several 
regiments of the line, gave a very gay appearance to the 
town, and so many soldiers mixed with the costume of 
the peasants made the roads appear as if there was a national 

July 24. — From Strasburg, along the Bergstrasse, past 
the Kaiserstuhl (which became a considerable group as we 
approached) to Freyburg in Brisgau, a town larger than 
Bonn, with a University and a most beautiful Cathedral, 
both in the exterior, which resembles Strasburg a good deal, 
and the interior, where there is good Gothic architecture and 
painted glass. From Freyburg we have passed through 
what the Germans call the ' Holle Thai,' or valley of hell, a 
defile in granitic mountains, but which is too beautifully 


covered with fir wood to deserve the name. To-morrow we 
hope to arrive at Schaffhausen. 

Believe me, my dearest mother, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Snmiswald: July 28, 1832. 

My dear Fanny, — We are here, on our way to Thun and 
Interlachen, at a small inn. This route, which we take as 
the easiest, and not requiring pedestrian or equestrian exer- 
tions, like the Brunig, has shown us so much quiet liveable 
home scenery, and cultivated gently undulating ground, as 
I really hardly knew to exist in. Switzerland, where one 
usually keeps so close to the mountains. We see many new 
houses of the best style built in every part of Switzerland, 
which bespeaks the growing prosperity of the country, and 
which is never seen in Rhenish Prussia. The part of the 
Bernese territory which we have been in, looks particularly 

Berne : July 30. — I was much disappointed at finding 
Studer absent, and mean to go with Mary iu search of him 
to-morrow at Gurnigel, five leagues distant. At Thun we 
saw the Jungfrau in great beauty, and though the view of 
the Alps from the ramparts here was not so clear as that we 
saw in 1818, it was nevertheless very fine, and only half 
covered with white clouds mingling with the snows. They 
have now four bears in the moat here, and a herd of deer. 
The town and everything in the canton looks most flourishing. 
As my rapid tour has served to excite, rather than satisfy 
my curiosity about the geology of Switzerland, I want to 
ask Studer a hundred queries. He is just about to publish 
on the geology of the country, and ought to stand a good 

Fribmirg : August 1. — We are stopping here for a twelve 
o'clock dinner, having breakfasted at six o'clock. The view 
of the Alps as we left Berne was very flne. Yesterday was 
a well-spent day. We started early for Gurnigel, the highest 
watering-place in Switzerland, among the fir woods. Found 
Studer, a good, honest, iutelligent Swiss, not quite read up 

1832. THE SIMPLON. 393 

to Saturday night, bat not so far behind as to be ignorant of 
a certain work, which made him receive me well, and express 
himself grateful for my visit. He took me to two ravines, 
where I saw a considerable section of the flanks of the Alps, 
very like the Pyrenees. He also gave me useful geological 
hints for the Simplon, Lago Maggiore, &c. The valley 
which led to Gurnigel was splendid, and the view of the Alps 
from it. 

Ever your affectionate brother, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Father. 

Simplon: August 5, 1832. 

My dear Father, — We have just reached this village, 
after ascending from Brieg in a most beautifully clear day, 
and are sure I think of seeing the descent, which I thought 
so much more beautiful, in most favourable weather. They 
say they have not had for a long time so little travelling 
over the Simplon — absolutely no English. Wars, cholera, and 
other fevers seem to have put an end to travelling. In the fine 
parts of Switzerland many French families driven away from 
Paris by cholera have come and sojourned, which has been 
some compensation, but none to this noble pass. In spite of 
this, however, no expense has been spared in keeping up the 
road here, which is in beautiful order, at least the Swiss 

Domo d'Ossola, evening. — We reached this by six o'clock. 
Mary has been amused at the costume of the peasants, at 
the stone floor of our bedroom, and other novelties to her ; 
among the rest, the announcement that no milk, not a 
thimbleful, can be purchased in the whole town. And such 
herds of cows and goats as we passed. So we solaced our- 
selves with a repast which costs no more, and is perhaps 
more suited to the climate, an ice and a roll of bread. In 
my way up the Vallais I just stopped at Bex to call on 
Charpentier, the geologist of the Pyrenees, now superinten- 
dent of the salt mines there. We took a car and drove to his 
villa. He told me something of the geology of the country, 
and said if I would return and examine it he should be glad 


to show it to me. We find the people here occupied with a 
fete ' per I'onore delta Vergine : ' soldiers firing, band playing, 
and a great pole in the market-place, with prizes for the 
boy who climbs to the top ; but they have put up so tall a fir 
from the mountains, thab no one can get a fifth of the way 
up. But the soap will be rubbed off in time, and by midnight 
some one will mount. The balconies are full of ladies gaily 
dressed, and the crowd laughs loudly as often as any one 
slips down the pole. They call this la cocagna. At Vevey, 
I wrote to my geological friend Necker, to announce our 
intended visit to Geneva and Cha.mouni. 

Milan : August 7. — We saw the Boromean Isles in great 
beauty, and had the gardener, who was so fair a botanist, to 
show us the trees and shrubs. I am grieved to hear that 
Boromeo's eldest son (aged about forty), a geologist to whom 
I had letters last time I was here, and who in spite of his 
rank is really advanced in scientific knowledge, is gone to 
Aix in Savoy. At Arona, yesterday, we went up to San 
Carlo Boromeo's statue, really a fine thing, and interesting 
also from the great deception, produced I suppose by its good 
proportion ; for when you are at the foot of the statue you 
would not believe that your arm could go into the nose, 
whereas half your body, with head and arms, mav be packed 
into it. You mount by a long ladder to half the height, 
then by an iron bar within, not a thing for ladies, nor indeed 
for gentlemen who have not good nerves. I went up, and 
got into the nose, at least part of me. Mary was glad when 
I was down again, though really there is no danger, and, on 
the other hand, no recompense for the trouble and fine of 
four francs. After we had boated it most agreeably to the 
isles, and got off in the carriage, a storm, the first rain for 
two entire months, came down and laid the dust. It has 
much refreshed the country. The Lago Maggiore is nearly 
of the same colour (cabbage-green if I may be so unpoetical) 
as the lakes of Switzerland which send their waters to the 
Rhine. Geneva Lake is a deep blue, and, if I remember, much 
more like the Mediterranean, to which its waters flow. Now 
that they have made out that the sea contains iodine, as do 
many mineral springs, and that there are innumerable mineral 

i833- INFLUENZA. 395 

springs in the Alps, I suppose they will find a solution of 
their colour, but I forget Davy's conjectures on the subject. 
With love to all. 

Believe me your affectionate son, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

1o Charles Babbage, Esq. 

16 Hart Street, Bloomsbury : Saturday, January 5, 1833. 

My dear Babbage. — This year I am determined to give 
the Temple of Serapis in grand style, and am preparing 
scenic illustrations. 

Would you be so kind as to lend me again all the plates 
on that region which you let me have last year, and which I 
was unable then to make use of. 

The Eoyal Institution, hearing that the King's College 
will not admit ladies, have sent me an invitation of a pressing 
kind to give them some six or eight lectures after Easter, 
offering me what I believe they consider very favourable 
terms as far as emolument. I am inclined to accept, but 
must think of it. I shall have time certainly. 

If not at home when the bearer leaves this, you can look 
out the plates and leave them out for me, and I will send 
again. I should like to show you Sir W. Hamilton's plate 
of the place where I think you found the serpulse on the 
cliff south of Puzzuoli, to ask you if am right. 

Stokes and Broderip are to dine here on Tuesday at six 
o'clock, no one else. Could you not join the party, and 
renew your acquaintance with my wife ? I cannot tell you 
how much pleasure it would give us, to see you here at our 
first party. Ever yours most truly, 

Chaeles Ltell. 

To Gideon Mantell, Esq. 

London : April 30, 1833. 

My dear Mantell, — Like all the world, I have had the 
influenza, which went through my house, servants, visitor and 
aU, save Mrs. Lyell, who remained well to nurse us. This 
emharras, and getting out vol. iii. and up two courses of 
lectures, must be my excuse for not having wi-itten to you or 


anyone. My introductory lecture at the Royal Institution last 
Thursday was attended by 250 persons. This morning, the 
first King's College lecture by 200 persons, or, as some compute, 
250. Nevertheless, I doubt whether I shall have any class, 
scarce any having as yet entered ; and Jones, the Professor 
of Political Economy, a very eloquent man, having had an 
audience of 200 the first day, had on the third not one indi- 
vidual, and now he goes on lecturing to five, which I would 
not. I was very happy to have my 200 to preach the true 
doctrine to, gratis. 

I am glad you have got your book out so soon. I mean 
this summer to geologise in the Tyrolean Alps, and make 
up my mind on Von Buch's dolomisation theory. 

I start June 9, with Mrs. Lyell. 

I have been taking lessons with her on shells from G. 
Sowerby, who is a bankrupt, and now wishes to be a teacher 
in Natural History, for which he is better qualified than for 
shop speculations. 

Believe me, ever most sincerely yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To De. Fleming. 

16 Hart Street, Bloomsbury, London : May 1, 1833. 

My dear Dr. Fleming, — I am at a loss to decide how to 
send you a copy of my third volume, which has been out this 
week. I think you told me you should soon establish some 
regular mode of communicating between London and Edin- 
burgh, and that you would let me know how to forward a 
parcel. I long to hear whether you have made progress in 
the Fife coalfield, especially in the fossil shells and plants, 
and vertebrated animals of the period, when only 'the 
simplest forms of organic life ' were in existence. As Agassiz 
the icthyologist was seized with a complaint in his eyes, and 
his visit to England consequently deferred, I have made no 
step towards settling the genus and species of my red sand- 
stone fish, which I much regret. 

Since I launched my work, I have been busy lecturing. 
The King's College governors determined this year that 
ladies should not enter my lecture-room, because it diverted 


the attention of the young students, of whom I had two in 
number from the college last year, and two this. Mj class 
being thus cut down to fifteen, I gave them a short course, 
which is now going on, and I find them very attentive and 
in earnest, but I would not of course give the time to such a 
class again. The Eoyal Institution invited me very warmly 
to lecture in their theatre, and I consented to seven lectures, 
which have been attended by 250 persons (scarce ever less), 
about a hundred of them mew. But I do not fancy this 
want of concentration of my lecturing labours, and shall 
either settle upon some one theatre, or stick to writing, 
which I believe is most improving and profitable in every 
way. T regret that the bishops cut short my career at 
King's College, as I should have had a splendid class this 
year, and thrice as profitable as at the Royal Institution, but 
there seems no way of having a large audience but by one 
of two methods — an academical class, or one open to women 
as well as men. Grant lectured gratis at the Zoological 
Society to overflowing rooms, but the moment he began at the 
London University, for a trifling fee, only about eight or ten 
students came. Yet people will still buy dearish books, and 
though willing to hear Turner lecture gratis on Chemistry 
or Geology, they will not pay at the rate of Is. a lecture to 
hear him. My book has got on so rapidly, as to put me in 
great good humour with the public. Bakewell has just 
come out with a new edition, but I have not heard whether 
there is anything new in it. I get on in conchology some- 
what, and Mrs. Lyell and my sisters, two of whom are now with 
me, make rapid progress. I am going this year to the Tyrol, 
to make up my mind about Von Buch's theory of dolomisa- 
tion of the limestone of the Alps. Ever most truly yours, 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Sistee. 

Paris : June 18, 1833. 

My dear Marianne, — We are just returned from a visit 

to Montmartre, where I have shown Mary the underground 

streets or excavations made to extract gypsum — the same 

gypsum in which Cuvier's celebrated animals were found. 

398 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvi. 

She liad also an opportunity of collecting a fossil shell or two 
for the first time. The view of Paris from Montmartre is by 
far the finest there is ; St. Denis seems very near you on 
one side. I was much amused at the Geological Society last 
night. My last volume has told here very much. Prevost 
assures me that the first two were far beyond them here. 
He says they are beginning to appreciate them, but that it 
will require several years before they see as clearly as he 
does the geological bearing of them. There have been several 
schemes to translate the work, but the German translation 
checks them; for they say that in France eve*f one writes, 
and no one reads or buys, and that they depend regularly on 
Germany and England for the sale of two-thirds of a scien- 
tific work. Their sale is far moi'e limited than in Germany. 
I am resolved to continue with zeal to collect fossils and 
study conchology. I am very glad to see Mrs. Somerville 
again, and hear her opinion on society here, which upon the 
whole is favourable, but not in all things. I know no one 
further from being prudish, and j'et she tells me that she can 
scarce admit any modern French novel nor literary work 
into her house, so unfit are they for her daughters. 

Charles Ltell. 

To His Mother. 

Heidelberg : July 30, 1833. 
My dear Mother. — I am now for the third time upon the 
Bergstrasse, and admire it as much as when I first visited 
it thirteen years ago with my father. When we left Bonn, 
Dr. Thomson and his son were agreeable companions in the 
steamboat as far as Coblenz. We first stopped at Neuwied, 
leaving the boat and taking a carriage at that small village- 
metropolis, to cross the plain to the boundary hills. We 
went over an immense flat plain about five miles broad, 
which is composed of horizontal beds of volcanic matter, 
chiefly white lapilli of pumice, which we saw at the pits, and 
when we came to the small river Sayn. Then at the town 
of the same name we saw the iron-works, having an intro- 
duction to the Superintendent. The views of the plain 
from the hills and the old ruined castle at Sayn are beauti- 

1833- U'OJ^Jl/S. 399 

fill. We went on to Ehrenbreitstein, slept there, and next 
morning rejoined the steamer, to be carried on to Bingen, 
■where we disembarked for good, and got a carriage for 
Mayence and did much geology on the way, in what we call 
the Mayence tertiary basin. On the 27th July we followed 
the Ehine to Oppenheim, and then to Alzy, Bppelsheim, and 
Worms, seeing many quarries, and at Worms much of his- 
torical interest, particularly as what I had read in Eobertson 
and Schiller has left a lasting impression. A few miles 
from Worms is a large lime tree of great age, which stands 
like a giant^U the other trees in the plain being younger 
and of moderate height. This tree has been spared because 
tradition has said that Luther, when he was on his way to 
the Diet of Worms, satimder its shade to rest. It is called 
' Luther's Linden.' Worms is a fine old place, standing in a 
great plain. We looked down upon it, and in the distance 
on the one side, the Hardt mountains and the Donnersberg, 
which we had approached in our excursion the day before, 
and on the other, the hills at the foot of which we now are. 
Opposite the cathedral, on the very spot where the Rath- 
haus stood, while the Diet was held, stands the Lutheran 
churcli, in which the Lutherans and Calvinists now join 
worship in the same service here (Darmstadt), as in Prussia. 
The churcli is very simple and plain in its exterior, but 
within is remarkably striking. It is not much more than a 
century old. On the entrance side is a large picture of the 
Diet of Worms, Charles V. in the chair, and on his right 
cardinals and bishops ; on his left, nobles in their robes ; 
before him, Luther standing and speaking against Eekius, 
who is contending on the other side. There is a gallery on 
one side only of the church, all along the fi-ont of which is a 
double row of pictures, more than a hundred I should think, 
painted I believe on wood, the upper row in illustration of 
the Old, the lower of the New, Testament. Each tells its tale 
admirably, and the effect of the whole as adorning the church, 
the ceiling of which is coloured so as to harmonise, is quite 
beautiful. The pictures are very amusing, and many of the 
marvellous stories of the Jewish history are collected ; and 
from the Revelations there are dragons with many heads 
and other beasts, and Death on the pale horse, &c. I should 


suppose that tlie children, and not a few grown-up folk, are 
employed during service in divining what the pictures relate 
to. Martin Luther himself would stand no chance with the 
artist. For what he said on this spot I believe he was im- 
prisoned : it is curious that his church should now stand 
there, exactly opposite the old vast Catholic cathedral. 

July 31. — After passing along the plain from Worms to 
Manheim, we crossed the Rhine on entering the latter, and 
climbed the tower of the observatory, where we had a splen- 
did view. In the town, the juncture of the Neckar with the 
Ehine ; in the distance. Spires on one side, Worms on the 
other ; the Vosges and Black Forest mountains to the south, 
and the Taunus to the north. Professors Von Leonhard and 
Bronn have been very attentive here. Yesterday evening we 
spent with the former, and this evening with the latter. 
After the party at Leonhard's, Mary and I took a moonlight 
walk over the ruins of the old castle, and stood on the splendid 
terrace which overhangs the Neckar. I received a letter 
from Count Miinster of Bayreuth here, in answer to one 
from me from Bonn, saying he will be glad to see me, and 
will be at home, and pointing out things which he recom- 
mends me to see before reaching him. He has not only the 
first collection in Germany of fossil remains, but is reputed 
to know more about them than any one else. We go by 
Heilbronn, Stuttgardt, Goppingen, Pappenheim, Solenhofen, 
Nuremberg, Bayreuth (seeing the famous caves of Muggen- 
dorf, &c., between the last places), Bamberg, Wiirtzburg, 
w| Aschaffenb^rg, Frankfurt, Bonn. 

With my love to all at Kinnordy, believe me, my dearest 
mother, your affectionate son, 

Chakles Ltell. V 

To His Father. 

Manheim, near Pappenheim, Bavaria : August 8, 1833. 
My dear Father, — ^We have just reached this on our wry 
to the famous lithographic stone quarries at Solenhofen. 
My last letter to my mother was just before quitting Heidel- 
berg. I attended a lecture of Von Leonhard on mineralogy, 
and was much interested. He has been the first to introduce 


a modified Lancastrian system of instruction into his lec- 
tures. When he has given a general history of a particular 
mineral, he describes a certain number of specimens to four 
or five of the more advanced of his class, vyho have already 
followed one or two courses. He then passes to one end of 
the room, and a small group closes round him, each seeing 
the specimen well. He goes on : ' Epidote, this pale green is 
epidote, the white is quartz,' &c. The others go round the 
room with their specimens at the same time, so the whole 
class is for some time broken up into a number of private 
lecture pupils, till the exhibition or ' demonstration ' is over, 
when the whole are again intent on the general views of the 
Professor, v?ho holds forth in a pleasant, easy, extempore 
strain. He only got through two minerals in the hour. At 
Stuttgardt I got a hasty view of two collections and of Drs. 
Hahl and Jager, the latter an author on fossil remains. I 
was lucky enough to meet Professor Voltz, of Strasbourg, at 
Dr. Hahl's, who gave much information on the fossils. 

We saw Danneker's studio, and the sculpture by him in 
the palace. I do not admire D.'s Ariadne, which is so 
much talked of. His Christ I thought very fine, and many 
others beautiful. I went to Goppingen, at the suggestion of 
Count Miinster. Dr. Hartmann, physician at Goppingen, 
has a magnificent collection of organic remains of secondary 
rocks, and was very liberal in giving me specimens, and took 
us to some localities where we collected plentifully. 
Believe me, your affectionate son, 

Charles Ltell. 

To G. Mantell, Esq. 

16 Hart Street, London : September 16, 1833. 

My dear Mantell, — I have just arrived from Dover, having 
passed through Belgium in my way. I saw there at Liege 
the collection of Dr. Schmerling, who in three years has, by 
his own exertions and the incessant labour of a clever 
amateur servant, cleared out some twenty caves untouched 
by any previous searcher, and has filled a truly splendid 
museum. He numbers already thrice the number of fossil 
cavern mammalia known when Buckland wrote his 'Idola 
specus ; ' and such is the prodigious number of the individuals 

VOL. I. D D 


of some species, tlie bears, for example, of which he has five 
species, one large, one new, that several entire skeletons will 
be constructed. Oh, that the Lewes chalk had been cavern- 
ous ! And he has these and a number of yet unexplored, 
and shortly to be investigated holes, all to himself. But envy 
him not — you can imagine what he feels at being far from a 
metropolis which can afford him sympathy ; and having not 
one congenial soul at Liege, and none who take any interest 
in his discoveries save the priests — and what kind they take 
you may guess more especially as he has found human re- 
mains in breccia, embedded with the extinct species, under 
circumstances far more difficult to get over than any I have 
previously heard of. The tlwee coats or layers of stalagmite 
cited by me at Choquier are true. Talking of the priests, 
they have obtained grants for new monkish establishments in 
Liege, while the University of Ghent falls to the ground, and 
the Protestant professors are cashiered, and King William's 
patronage of natural history excluded. The movement was 
mainly one of Catholic bigots against a king who wished to 
introduce schools, and who, whatever faults he committed, 
was of all European sovereigns the greatest promoter and 
most judicious patron of physical science. Leopold has 
nothing left for it but to lean on the priests, reinforced as 
they are by the Jesuits exiled from France. But as yet the 
Belgian press is free : with that there is always hope. I ex- 
amined near Mons strata of the age of Maestricht, and 
collected shells of which 250 speoimens have been found, 
and were shown me by Count Duchatel. I saw those newer 
beds reposing on white chalk with flints, and this on chloritic 
chalk and chalk marl or malm, very soft and clayey, full of 
upper G. Sand shells (pecten 5 — costatus, &c.) . The ancient 
shore of the chalk, then resting upon inclined mountain lime- 
stone, is still seen, as the quarries are worked out, strewed with 
pebbles of coralline limestone (mountain), of old red sand- 
stone, coal shale, &c. ; these pebbles covered with green sand 
species oi plagiostoma, patella, emarginula, &c.,the softer old- 
red pebbles bored by fistularia, of which the shells remain 
— the subjacent limestone seen in situ, perforated by large 
regular sarcophagous hollows. But better than all, rents and 
sinuous cavities are seen in the underlying limestone into 
which the sand of the ' malm ' or ' firestone ' beds, to speak 


Sussex to you, fell, and into whicli innumerable shells of the 
cretaceous era were drifted. These shells escaped being 
sfconified, and consequently 200 species the same as in the 
marl are in a state of perfection rarely equalled by tertiary 
shells. Terebratulse loose, and with all the internal parts 
entire. It is a wonderful country, and well ransacked by 
Duchatel, who took me to the best localities. 

Very truly yours, Charles Ltell. 

[In 1834, lie made a tour of several months in Sweden, and wrote 
a journal to his wife, which was posted at intervals, from which large 
extracts are given in the following pages. In November of this year 
he read a paper to the Koyal Society on the proofs of a gradual rising 
of the land in that country, which was published in the ' Philosophical 
"Transactions ' the following year, as the Bakerian Lecture.] 

To C. Babbage, Esq. 

16 Hart Street : January 16, 183i. 

Dear Babbage, — I am half afraid you are gone to Cam- 
bridge, but will take the chance of this note reaching vou, 
as I am at a stand for want of an answer to what may be a 
simple question. 

Daniell tells me that the melting point of iron, or rather 
the heat of melted iron, is about 4,000° Fahrenheit ; and that 
so long as any fragment of solid iron remains in the melted 
mass it is impossible to raise the temperature higher — just 
as water will not be raised above 33° so long as any ice is 
floating in it. Now he (Daniell) asks whether, if this be the 
case, the interior of the planet can, as the central-heat men 
assume, be at temperatures far ahove 4,000° P. ? Would this 
be possible so long as a solid crust above remains unmelted ? 
I objected tha.t pressure might possibly allow of great in- 
crement of heat beyond 4,000° without liquefaction being 
produced. But Daniell doubts whether iron and other solids 
would be prevented from, melting by pressure? At' all 
events, would it not follow that the central parts of the 
earth, or all below the outer rind, are incandescent and solid 
rather than fluid? I see that Fourier and other mathe- 
maticians assume that it is consistent with the laws which 

D B 2 


regulate tlie progress of lieat through conducting bodies 
that a cold, frozen, solid crust may cover a nucleus which 
may be at any imagiTiahle temperature. Query. 

Dr. Young, in his lectures on Natural Philosophy, says 
that at the earth's centre steel would be compressed into 
one-fourth its bulk, and stone into one-eighth. 

Ever yours most truly, Charles Ltell. 

P.S. — If you were not a Professor I should have craved a 
breakfast with you on this subject; but fly me a note, if 
possible, by post. 

To Leonaed Hornee, Esq. 

London : February 26, 1834. 

My dear Horner, — Your paper is positively to come ort 
to-night — first my Pyrenees, then you, then Egerton. I 
stood out for this arrangement, as we had priority by right. 
The answering was a heavy business. Greenough not in 
spirits, Buckland heavy, no Sedgwick. I communicated 
some information received the same day from Boue about 
the Strasbourg meeting, and the Stuttgardt reception of the 
savans, which the King of Wurtemburg is preparing. I 
also took occasion to recommend those who were goins: to 
the Continent to visit Germany, and praised their geologists, 
and stated how interesting the geology of Germany was in 
relation to our own. Lastly, I gave a rapid sketch of the 
controversy about the level of the Baltic and rise of Sweden, 
and announced that I was going there. 

Pitton's short speech was the only one which made them 
laugh. Dublin and Dr. Fitton was the toast. He descended 
on Antrim, and said that Playfair told him that when he 
(Playfair) visited the Giant's Causeway ' the sea was rough, 
a swell, what in Ireland would be called a state of agitation. 
The boatman proud, as all Irishmen are of their country, 
and annoyed that the stranger gentleman should be dis- 
appointed, after two ineffectual attempts to get to the 
Causeway, said, ' Your honour sees that it's not the sea that 
is out of humour : the sea (say) would be quiet, your honour, 
if the wind would but let her alone.' The speakers were 
Greenough, Buckland, Sir T. Ackland, Sir J. Johnston, Mur- 
chison, Pitton, De la Beche, Lyell, J. Taylor, Dr. Turner. 
Pitton's account of Greenough's speech was that ' more than 

1834- DR- BOWSTEAD. 405 

half of it was employed in pelting Lyell with nonsense, and 
at the end summing up in his favour.' 

Yours affectionately, Chaeles Ltell. 

To Leonard Hoenbk, Esq. 

April 17, 183i. 

My dear Horner, — I have been so often in danger of 
being fairly run down by the printers the last fortnight, that I 
have found no time to write and congratulate you on the favour- 
able aspect of affairs as connected with the Factory Bill. 
I begin to be sanguine that the Bill, after considerable modifi- 
cations when new clauses come into play, will last our time 
and do good, especially in respect to education, the chief 
point in which I conceive governments to have a right to 
interfere, or rather a duty. 

I should hope that by returning again and again to the 
same districts (when you have got the factories in train) 
you will be able to effect much in geology. Tor the grand 
secret is to revisit countries, and to compare them frequently, 
after thinking over what you see in the interval. If you 
write on volcanos you can bring in the ancient lava and 
dikes near Edinburgh, and the volcanic rocks near Dundee. 
I wrote to Bowstead,^ to say that if he had any notice on the 
loess of Andernach, I would read it when I read my paper. 
After some time he replied that he can venture nothing, but 
should have answered my letter sooner, had he not been em- 
ployed this Easter vacation in geologising in Derbyshire, with 
a Mr. Hopkins. Is it not delightful to have got such a man 
fairly bitten ? He concludes his letter with saying he shall 
see us in June (when we shall be far away), and adds : ' I 
was delighted to hear of Mr. Horner's appointment to the 
important and responsible situation which he fills,' as I 
shall ever preserve a grateful recollection of the kindness, 
encouragement, and assistance which I derived from him in 
my first feeble attempts at geological investigation. I 
should long ago have written, had I known Mr. Horner's 
address in this country, to congratulate him on his appoint- 
ment.' Amongst numerous sallies of Sydney Smith, some of 

2 Afterwards Bishop of Lichfield. 

' The Factory Act was passed in August 1853, and Mr. Horner was 
appointed one of the four Inspectors of Factories that autumn. 

406 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvi. 

which I presume have beeu told jou, when I dined there, he 
wondered when ' Cockburn would come up to town, and 
be baptised,' &c. On my saying that be was already 
one of the most social of beings, a most excellent fellow, &c., 
Sydney said, ' I know him well, and his merits ; but why 
should a man say I will be intimate and social only when I 
have known people fifteen years ? One must be always 
beginning, and extending one's acquaintance, or be left 
alone. Life is not long enough for such apian. A man must 
allow for something intermediate between cold reserve and 
the familiarity of schoolboys. It will not do, sir, depend 
upon it, for any man to say, " I will shut my mouth, and be 
reserved to all with whom I cannot play at leap-frog" ' 

You will be glad to hear that Constant Prevost overcame 
the Ecole des Mines and all the intrigues, and is now our 
French Pres. G. S. I have heard no particulars. Last night 
I took my brother Hal to see a comparison of the Drummond 
light and the most intense light of voltaic pile which could 
be made. The latter they say was most bright, but it was not 
sustained enough to allow of a fair comparison. Buckland 
was there, and very full of Hibbert's discovery of a Plesiosaur 
and crocodile in the coal of Edinburgh, or Burdie House 
quarries. Murchison said that he had not made out that it 
was below mountain limestone ; but I said that, having visited 
Burdie House, I could not doubt that any saurian found there 
must have been contemporaneous with the coal plants. 

I hope you will be obliged to go to the mills and manse of 
Clackmannan. I know of no one so able to help one in 
Scotch geology as Dr. Fleming, especially on the coal. If 
you are much in Edinburgh, I would determine in five or six 
years to have the finest collection of the carboniferous beds 
north of the Tweed. A few pounds annually expended would 
be justifiable as an investment, as Murchison said to me in 
1827, after he and others had lost thousands in speculations, 
and when old Sowerby's family sold his collection well. 
' What an ass I was, when I sold my land, not to invest in 
fossils ! ' But I know how dangerous it is to begin, unless 
one confines oneself to a very limited field, either to some 
one branch of paleontology, or a certain geographical 
district. Believe me, affectionately yours, 

Charles Ltell. 



MAT-JITKE 1834. 


To His Wipe. 

On board ship for Hamburgh : May 21, 1834. 

My dearest Mary, —I have been ten hours without a word 
with my love, but thinking of her more than half the time, 
and comforting myself that she is less alone than I am. I 
foresee much profit from a full conference with the Danes 
and Swedes. I have learnt much to-day about the state of 
Heligoland, and will try to get drawings of it. I have been 
reading Forchhammer, and am quite sure that the geology of 
the Danish isles, Moen and Seeland in particular, on my way 
to Copenhagen, will be one of the most important things I 
have to do. I remember that Deshayes told me that the 
fossils of Scania were those of Maestricht and Ciply, and 
from the Cranias and other shells mentioned by Forch- 
hammer, I shall probably find Moen to be so too. 

Hamburgh: Sunday, 25. — The sceneryonnearing Altonais 
very beautiful, and sections by the riverside which I sketched, 
and had decided to see if possible. Landed, and went to H6tel 
de Eussie. This is a curious old place, more like Niirnberg 
than any other we saw together, with a likeness to a Dutch 
town also, with its canals. Drove to Altona, to Prof. Schu- 

408 S/J? CHARLES LYELL. CHAP. xvii. 

macher's, who was not at home. Resolved to dash on in a 
drosky to the section lower down the Elbe than Altona, at 
about three miles from Hamburgh. Got to the very place 1 
sketched in the morning, at the Teufel's briicke — cliffs, 60 or 
70 feet high. Filled three pages of note-book. Saw the 
source of the great Holstein granite blocks — gathered shells 
thrown ashore by the Elbe. Returned to Altona and saw Schu- 
macher, Danish Astronomer Royal, a man who has done much 
to advance practical astronomy as applied to navigation. 
Went with him to a Mr. Parish, a rich Anglo-Hamburgh mer- 
chant, who took me where I wished in his carriage. I have 
made progress already, I think, in making out the Holstein 
formation, and by aid of a peasant got two shells which are 

Copenhagen : May 28, 1834. — I have not had a moment of 
leisure to write to you since the morning I left Hamburgh, in 
a carriage which that kind man Schumacher sent me from 
Altona, because he said my bones would be broken in a post- 
carriage, as the road was so bad that twice my head went 
against the roof or windows. There are two reasons for the 
disgraceful state of a road which connects two rich and 
active independent cities, which have their vote. The first 
is a geological cause, loose sand, and huge boulders floating 
in it. But why with their wealth do they not break up the 
granite and macadamise ? The reason is that it would half 
ruin Denmark's king, through whose dominion the road runs. 
His revenue is principally derived from the dues paid on 
entering the Sound, and on these the last debt was guaran- 
teed. If the commerce of Hamburgh was conveyed by a 
good road to Liibeck, half these dues would be lost. So that 
though Hamburgh and Liibeck offered to make the road, Den- 
mark refused. The negotiation is still going on, and it is 
hoped Denmark will be shamed into concession. After 
getting through innumerable small jobs at Hamburgh, and 
the horrors of packing with an increase of things, small 
boxes of shells, &c., I at last got off. It blew a hurricane, 
and the loose sand and the cold forced me to shut up at last, 
by which I lost no geology. I worked at Rang,^ and was 
glad you packed him up, an excellent book. I had collected 

' "Work on Conchology. 

i834. BALTIC SHELLS. 409 

shells on the banks of the Elbe, which excited my deeire to 
consult him. On to Oldesloe, about five Grerman miles, 
having baited one pair of steeds three or four times. Here 
are salt works, which I saw : then to Segeberg. Here an ex- 
traordinary mountain of gypsum, &c., bursts up through the 
loose sand. I delivered my letter from Schumacher to 
Oeheimrath Von Eosen, who was just returned, late in the 
evening, with his wife and six young children, from a tour of 
seven days. Simple mannered Germans. After tea he went 
with me up the Hill of Gyps, and introduced me to a Nor- 
wegian Bergmann, who superintends the works. He was 
quite my beau ideal of an intelligent, frank, independent 
Norwegian. It was darkish, so it was arranged that between 
six and seven next morning I and the Bergmann should ex- 
amine the hill together, which we did, much to my edifica- 
tion. He was delighted to find I had letters to Count 
Wedel and other Norwegians. Five hours' ploughing of the 
deep sands took us to Liibeck. On the way I gathered some 
freshwater and land shells ; read Rang, and Forchammer, 
and De la Beche, on chalk, &c. ; wished you were in the car- 
riage ; and at last got sight of the towers of Liibeck, a very 
curious old city. I had only three-quarters of an hour before 
the steamboat started, which conveyed us sixteen miles by 
water down the Trave, first half fresh, and last salt. By land 
it was only eight miles, but the steam beats the carriage. 
The river sometimes opened into a kind of estuary, then 
contracted — very picturesque. A fleet of thirty fishing-boats 
were met all together in full sail, going to the Baltic. In two 
hours and a quarter we were at the small port of Liibeck, 
Travemiinde, where we found two fine steamers, one Russian, 
just going to Petersburg, the largest ; and the other Danish, 
into which we and our luggage were all transferred. 

When my luggage was safe, we had still three-quarters 
of an hour, and I was ambitious of picking up a shell or two 
on the borders of the Baltic. I landed, as we were alongside 
the pier, in our new boat — it was low water. The shore was 
covered with Turbo Uttoreus, Slytilus edulis, Cardium edule, 
Madra, Tellina, and quantities of a minute paludina, I suppose 
P. ulva. This association of the paludina with the marine 
shells delighted me, as analogous to the Mayence basin, which 



was no doubt brackish too. After we had started, I stood 
washing my new treasures, the shells, in a basin, and pack- 
ing them up, to the admiration of the crew, who some of them 
begged the loan of my magnifying-glass. A Russian gentle- 
man, who afterwards proved to be Mr. Eperlim, Russian Con- 
sul at Helsingborg, offered, as I seemed to him a naturalist, 
his services if I wished any information in my travels in the 
North. This was Cqjropos enough, and I profited greatly on 
the voyage by his hints and encouragement as to travelling 
cheaply and easily in Sweden. As we sailed out of the Gulf 
of Liibeck, we saw the Mecklenburg coast on our right, evi- 
dently composed of the same loam, sand, &c., as Holstein, 
and producing a similar aspect of country, like parts of 
England : the cottages and hedges of Holstein are much like 
the south of England. I found my little German there most 
useful, and should have learnt little without it, either at 
Oldesloe saltworks, or from the good Bergmann of Segeberg. 
The steamer was a good one from Liibeck, and we began 
with ten miles an hour, which was much reduced by a north 
wind steadily against us all the rest of the voyage. I 
ordered them to wake me when in sight of Moen. Up at seven 
o'clock, sketching the white chalk cliffs of that isle, which 
I hoped to visit again. To bed again. Then up, and read 
for some hours. Left Moen at last, and in sight of the white 
cliffs of Seeland, which are much lower. Those of Moen are 
400 feet high, and look like the white cliffs of Dover. The 
first point of Sweden which I saw was the end of the small 
promontory of Falsterbo — low, only with a line of trees 
growing as it were from the water. Then the long line of 
the Swedish coast, and the Danish isle of Amager. Then 
the celebrated city of the Baltic, which, seen from the sea, 
disappoints one ; but when we had entered it, the squares and 
streets were fine. Went to Eorchhammer. It being a great 
object for me to get Eorchhammer to go with me, I wrote him 
a letter explaining my views. . . . 

May 29. — After six hours' work with Eorchhammer in the 
museum, he agreed to go to Moen, Seeland, &c., with me. 
We start to-morrow at six o'clock. Dr. Beck, the Prince's 
naturalist, a man with whom Tarn delighted, accompanies me 
to Lund on Wednesday next, to see Nilsson. There is much 


doing here, wMcli is unknown in England and France. I am 
more than ever struck with the extreme slowness with which 
science travels, what with the multiplicity of languages, 
douanes, &c. 

Copenhagen : June 1, 1834. — I have just returned from an 
expedition of three days with Dr. Forchhammer, in which we 
Iiave travelled by land, posting upwards of two hundred 
English miles, first from Copenhagen to Stevns Klint on the 
east coast of Seeland, and then to the small ferry which 
separates the isles of Seeland and Moen, visiting the quarries 
of Faxo on our way : then to the tall white chalk cliffs of 
Moen. The first day was cold and rather rainy, but on the 
whole good working weather — the results will make alone an 
interesting memoir illustrated by several drawings. I have 
seen the junction of the upper chalk and Ciply or Maestricht 
beds, and satisfied myself that Dr. Forchhammer has mis- 
interpreted the Moen cliffs and their geological relations. 
But the case was a most difficult one, with which I need not 
trouble you yet. The scenery was often beautiful, friths and 
bays running into the green isles ; a low undulating country 
running in Moen into hills five hundred feet high, where 
the chalk is covered by splendid beech trees ; cliffs near four 
hundred feet high, covered with wood at the summit, and 
with a fine shingle beach of flint at their base. My com- 
panion well informed on many branches in which I wanted 
instruction, and who has taught me much of the geology of 
regions I have just been seeing, and am to see. It opens a 
new world coming here, and the Danes, I find, can tell one 
much of Iceland and Greenland, as well as of the Baltic. 
The night before this expedition I went to Mr. Macdougal, 
who was very civil, and on my saying I was going to Dr. 
Beck, the Prince's naturalist, said he would go with me, as 
he knew him. I found Beck very strong in conchology. 
He has, in ' his Highness's ' collection, one of the finest in 
Europe, if not the best, even up to the last new shells of 
Cuming and others in London. Beck offered to go to 
Lund with me, which I most gladly accepted, the more so as 
he is intimate with Nilsson. My scheme is to try to get 
some naturalist or student of Lund to go with me to Stock- 
holm, and thus I should escape a servant, whose expenses 

412 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvn. 

"Would be as great, and I should get instead an intelligent 
•companion, such as Nilsson would recommend. It was 
strange, on returning by a different road to Copenhagen this 
evening, to find this capital a fortified town. Forchhammer 
tells me that one of Charles XII. of Sweden's dashing 
■enterprises was to cross the ice with his army and cannon, 
marching down the Sound to attack Denmark, since which 
they have fortified Copenhagen. Forchhammer speaks and 
understands English like an Englishman. On my return, I 
found a letter from Councillor of State Adler, saying that 
the Prince Christian had ordered Count Vargas and Dr. 
Beck to attend me at his Highness's collection at ten o'clock 
to-morrow morning, and that the Prince had charged him to 
invite me to dine at the Palace to-morrow. I wish it had 
been any other day, for I fear I shall get late, if at all, to 
Forchhammer's soiree, where the famous Oersted, and the 
travellers, Pingel and Olafsen, and two other good men, whom 
I want to see as much of as possible, are asked to meet me. 

Malmo in Sweden : June 4. — I was at the museum in the 
Palace at the appointed hour, and tried in vain to get Count 
Vargas, who was to show me the minerals, not to wait on me, 
as I wished to set to at the shells and fossils. I first got 
Beck to name the shells I had picked up ; among others, a 
true Neritina, which abounds in the brackish water of the 
Baltic. Beck has decided that it differs from Fluviatilis and 
others, and says he has found it in the Elbe, as well as the 
Baltic, and would give it any name I chose, so I christened 
it ' subsalsa.' I was soon informed by the Secretary Adler, 
a gentlemanlike man, that the Prince wished to have an 
audience, so I was taken away from business to wait with 
others in the ante-room, and introduced to Baron Eiunohr, 
also in attendance, who has written, I was told, on Grecian 
works of art, of virtu, and on gastronomy. When I had 
waited some time, long enough to be impatient when I 
thought of what I had left, I was introduced. The Prince was 
•standing, decorated with orders, and playing the kingly part 
very well ; good-looking rather, and of good height. He 
was very gentlemanlike, and said, ' I shall come to the 
collection when this ceremony is over, and spend the morn- 
ing with you, and learn what you have made of the contro- 


verted points of Moen. Meanwhile, as you are to be here one 
day more, I may say I only named to-day on that account ;, 
but if you have any engagement, dine with me at my country 
house to-morrow.' I told him of Forchhammer's party, and 
it was deferred till next day. He immediately sent, as I 
afterwards learnt, to Dr. Forchhammer and Oersted to meet 
me. After I had worked some time with Beck, the Prince 
joined us, and spent many hours while I went over the Faxo 
shells, an ancient coral reef, where the genera, Cyprcea, Oliva, 
Mitra, Valuta, Conus, &c., had already in the chalk era 
begun to flourish as now in the tropics. The Prince has 
studied the characters of all the genera of shells. I had 
several presented to me by him, as we went over the drawers. 
When Moen was discussed, my task was a delicate one. It 
would have been easy to damage Forchhammer, for Vargas, 
Beck, and others, who thought him wrong, were glad to hail 
my decision, though in some respects I think them wrong 
also. I enlarged on the difi&culty of the case, and declared 
that had 1 not studied both the Isle of Wight and Norfolk 
coast, I should have perhaps fallen into what I called Forch- 
hammer's mistake. That he was ten years stronger in 
geology now than when he wrote on Moen. In short, I took 
care to do Forchhammer justice, praising also the candour 
with which he was now inclined to abandon opinions to 
which he stood so pointedly committed. The Prince then 
ordered Vargas and Beck to bring me out next day, seven 
miles, in one of his carriages, and I resumed my inquiries of 
Beck in the collection. Vargas is a good-humoured man, but 
a complete courtier. Beck called to say he was in great 
distress, that his wife was very ill, and he could not possibly 
go either to the dinner, or next day to Malmo and Lund with 
me. I set off with Vargas in one of the royal carriages. 
He told me that Prince Christian, or ' the crown prince,'' 
has no more than 12,000L a year, which there may equal 
twice that in England ; that Adler has no easy matter to 
manage his finances, as the Prince could not resist when a 
good shell or mineral was offered. The country place was a 
small chateau, with beautiful grounds in the English style. 
When we entered the party was assembled. I was in- 
troduced to the Princess, a very handsome and interesting 



woman, daughter of the Duke or Prince of Augustenburg, 
whose family will I believe reign in Holstein, if this Danish 
stock dies out, as is expected, when the small kingdom will 
be split up. She has a stately manner, yet is agreeable, and 
talked of my tour in Moen, &c. A German prince of 
Bertheim Steinfurt, related to the Duchess of Cumberland, 
led her out ; then the Crown Prince took out the Countess 
Saxogeborne, princess of some house on the Rhine ; then 
Count Moltke, who was long Danish ambassador in London, 
took out Countess Yule, a dame d'honneur ; then Vargas 
another of these ladies ; after which came Count Bliicher, 
who is related to the general of that name, who sat next me, 
talks English well, and has married for love an English 
lady without fortune ; then came Oersted, with two orders of 
merit decorating him. There was much laughing and free 
conversation at dinner. After dinner, Vargas wanted to 
escape, which led to an amusing scene. We all walked 
about the shrubberies, and the Prince pointed out to me and 
others the points where the trees were finest, or views best ; 
when Vargas told me that the drive to a hill half way to 
Elsinoi-e, which was proposed, would make me far too late in 
my packing, &c., upon which I agreed to return with him, 
provided he could do it with propriety. Meanwhile Eorch- 
hammer took it into his head, after talking with Count Hoik, 
the Hof-Marschall, that Vargas was jealous of the Prince's 
attention to me, and Forchhammer accordingly begged Hoik 
to take care that Vargas did not carry me ofF. So Vargas 
came to me and said, ' Now the Prince is with the Secretary 
Adler, answering letters — they will be for hours at it ; and 
then comes the drive. Now I have only to get Hoik to 
promise to make our excuses. Saying this, he led me to the 
ante-room of the Prince, where Hoik and another were in 
attendance. On Vargas communicating the request, the 
master of the ceremonies laughed and said, 'Vargas, it is 
you that want to get home ; go in yourself to the Prince.' 
An altercation ensued, with many a smart thrust and parry, 
when at last Hoik said, ' Come, I will arrange it. There are 
three carriages and four, and one with two horses. Mr. 
Lyell and yourself shall be in the last, and when you get 
half way, I will contrive your retreat, and you shall be in 


town by nine o'clock. Soon after this the Prince came. All 
were ready. Hoik called up the first carriage and four, and 
the Prince put the Princess and some others into it, and 
when the three were filled, and Vargas, being summoned, 
had taken his place with a gracious bow as commanded, the 
Prince'turned to me, who remained alone, and said, 'You are 
to go with me.' Up drove the carriage and two, and away 
we went, preceded by a jager as avant-courier, and with a 
man on the box with two epaulets, and the coachman. The 
train followed us, and made a gay cortege. 

Lund : June 5. — My dearest Mary, the best way I can 
comfort myself for the disappointment of having outrun the 
tardy post, and found no letter from you here, is to continue 
at once my journal, which makes me constantly think of you. 
I had about three hours alone with the Prince. He asked me 
to explain Faraday's last discoveries in electricity, of which 
he heard I was the first narrator to Oersted. He entered 
into it with pleasure. Then he inquired if I could explain 
why beeches grow best after fir, and fir after beech, in his 
country. I gave him Decandolle's theory of cropping, and 
of the matter rejected by one plant being good for others ; 
when he said, ' I will suggest another theory. Some plants 
may absorb those gases and earthy matters which might 
poison others — time may be required to purify the soil, and 
then a tree of a different family may flourish.' I was so 
struck with his way of putting it, that I asked Forchhammer 
afterwards if it was not new. ' He got it,' said Forchhammer, 
* from the very memoir of mine which he cited to you, but he 
must have thought much of it, and has put it better, and 
believes it is his own.' We had a splendid view from a hill, 
to which all walked up, of Copenhagen, the royal parks, the 
sea, the castle of Kronsborg at Elsinore. Then we continued 
in the same carriages, the Prince describing to me on the way 
their peat bogs, and fossils in them, mode of preparing peat 
fael, after which he sent all the other carriages home, and 
took me to see some newly-discovered heathen tombs, huge 
stones from the great drift boulders of granite. He also 
good-humouredly stopped at a quarry of boulders, while I 
got out and geologised it ; but while I was there he got the 
jager to help him over the dike, and came too, offering his 



speculations as to which blocks came from Norway, &c. 

When we got home, we found the rest thirsty and waiting- 

for tea, which would not have been touched until the Prince 

came, though it had been midnight. After coffee, when 

Vargas got me off, the Prince said before them all, ' If I did 

not know that your curiosity was excited about this country, 

and that you must return to visit Bornholm Island another 

year, I should be unwilling to let you run away in such 

haste.' His lady added a civil speech, and away we went in 

our carriage. Vargas amused me, as his ideas are so drilled 

to a court. He confessed that his only reason for cutting 

geology was ' that it was a science for those who could 

afford to be independent in their opinions, which he could not, 

for the controversies led to quarrels, and these to loss of 

place ! ' But he was in manner quite the gentleman. 

Lund, in Scania : ''■ June 5, 1834. — This evening, as Nil- 

sson is unable to see me, I shall indulge in reminiscences 

of my proceedings during the last two days, which I have 

not yet sent you. I asked Prince Christian how Sweden, 

having only a few inhabitants, and so little a literary 

country, had done so much for science. He said, ' Because 

the universities were endowed with much of the wealth of 

the church, and there is an independence for men who, 

if they love science, may devote themselves for life to it.' 

He asked me whether I lived much in London, but he 

added, 'I need not ask, for I suppose you still hold your 

appoiatment in the University there.' I explained to him 

why I gave it up. He said, ' You do well, if you can 

dispense with it, to do so ; for after all it is a small circle 

you address as a teacher there, whereas by travelling and 

writing you can teach all the world.' This was all talked 

ia French during our drive. At dinner the conversation was 

Prench and German, now and then running into Danish and 

English in different quarters. The Crown Prince has the 

character of being very aristocratical, tempered with great 

intelligence and information; and that he has good men 

always about him, Vargas being the only thorough courtier. 

2 Scania, the ancient name for the southern provinces of Sweden, Malmo, 
and Christianstad. 

1 834- DANISH POLITICS. 417 

Whenever people wished to be very civil in Denmark, they 
began 'Herr Professoriug' me, which goes for more there 
than even in Germanj . In Denmark a title is called a ' cha- 
racter,' and here in Sweden I have been already asked 
' what was my character ? ' ' When they ask me a favour,' 
said Macdougall, ' they say, " ISTow, good Mr. Librarian Mae- 
dougall," ' &c. Prince Christian was King of Norway for a 
short time, and would have remained so, had not the Nor- 
wegians been constrained by the Allies to be bound, much 
against their wishes, to Sweden. ' There are twelve courts 
to keep up,' said Vargas ; and then he enumerated the dif- 
ferent brothers or near relations of the King and Crown 
Prince who had establishments. The young Prince who is 
banished for a season to Iceland is a son, by a former 
marriage, of Prince Christian, and the mother is separated, 
and at Rome — mad, as her son is thought by many to be at 
times. So was the father of the present King an avowed 
madman, although it is a fact that he was named guardian 
of the Duke of Ploen when he went mad, together with two 
other guardians, the Emperor Paul of Russia and George III. 
of England ! The young Prince is twenty-three, and married 
several years, without children. After him Holstein would be 
separate. As the monarchy is the most despotic in Europe, 
the coming to the throne of such a man would of course be 
a calamity. Some say it is in prospect of this that the 
present King and his councillors have wisely given a sort of 
form of a constitution, which was proclaimed the very day. 
May 28, our steamboat arrived at Copenhagen, but without 
exciting any feeling. It is, however, a very important event, 
as it appoints four places, Holstein, the Isles, Sleswick, &c., 
where deputies representing the people are to meet ; and 
though they are only to consider provincial matters, it is a 
beginning, and they will be the organs by-and-by of a legal 
reform if the country is pushed by a madman to a revolu- 
tionary movement. Good men, therefore, hail the gift with 
satisfaction. Meanwhile the King has retained absolute 
power. He is much liked and respected. ' He was liberal,' 
said Oersted to me, ' and we cannot accuse him of having 
changed ; but the times have changed, and have now gone 
far beyond him.' 

VOL. I. E E 

418 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, xvii. 

Our late return from the country palace called ' Sorgen- 
frey,' or ' free from sorrow,' made my packing rather hurried, 
and I should never have got through it before the packet 
sailed, if I had not got the assistance of a laquais de place 
who tallied English. We sailed over the Sound to Malmo 
in about five hours very pleasantly, though the boat was so 
small, that had it rained or been rough, it woidd have been 
wretched. The low island of SalhoU was on our right 
nearly all the way. A Danish naval officer who talked 
English helped me, and I got successfully to a humble inn 
at Malmo, and walked on foot along the shore to the lime- 
works at Linnhaven, and back in a peasant car, filled with 
dry seaweed. On the sea-side I remarked the extremely 
small size of the Cardium edtde and Mytilus edulis, which I 
have since learnt is characteristic of all the truly oceanic 
species which contrive to live (both fish and moUusca) in the 
brackish waters of the Baltic. They miss their proper dose 
of brine, and the farther from the Sound the smaller do they 

Hurfra : June 8. — I m^ust return to Malmo, where I began 
to feel the want of the language (even at so flourishing a 
port where the English trade) a very serious inconvenience. 
As to transacting the bargain of a carriage, my courage 
misgave me, when in stepped a gentlemanlike sort of a 
young man, talking good English, and introducing himself 
as Mr. John Robert Johnson of Malmo, a Swede, whose 
mother was English, and offered his services as interpreter. 
I liked his manner much, and after purchasing with his 
assistance a covered carriage on springs, with harness in- 
cluded, for the moderate sum of about 9L, taking it first upon 
trial to Lund, I asked him if he would goto Stockholm. He 
said he should be glad to try and arrange it, so he went with 
me in the light carriage to Lund, and on the way told me his 
history. His father died when he was a boy, and the widow 
kept the English Hotel at Stockholm. She was soon ruined 
by the knavery of the waiter who managed the inn, and was 
then invited by Mr. Dundas, a Scotch gentleman who bought 
an estate near Lund, to be his housekeeper, which she was 
for five years, when she died. Her only son, who was thirteen, 
upon this quitted Stockholm, was first sent to school, and 


tlieii to study at the university of Lund, being intended for 
tlie Churcli ; but becoming rather deaf, and expecting to get 
worse, he gave up the idea, and became teacher of the English 
language at Malmo, where the Swedish merchants have need 
■of a teacher, and keep him to it ten hours in the day. I 
was referred to Dundas, who was hourly expected in Malmo, 
but having consulted a Malmo merchant on whom I had a 
{letter of) credit, I felt no fear. After talking over the 
matter at Lund with Professor Hill, a chemist, I offered 
Johnson a little more than I should for a servant, and his 
expenses back to Malmo, which he agreed to joyfully, re- 
quiring nearly the whole in advance for outfit. He returned 
to Malmo to pay for the carriage, being absent only two 
days, which I spent most agreeably and profitably with 
Mlsson. He showed me his fossils, and gave me a valuable 
collection of duplicaxes. We made an excursion together 
through a country of greywacke with orthoceratite limestone 
and schist, containing a curious zoophyte called graptolite 
in great abundance, and a few shells. These rocks are 
seen by the banks of a small brook in a place called 
PogelsSng (pronounced song), or ' song of birds,' where I 
heard the nightingale and cuckoo. The vegetation was 
superb. It was here that Linnseus first studied botany when 
a student at Lund. I had often wondered that in his tour 
in Lapland he contrasts so much the plants and insects of 
the northernmost climates with the south, thinking that 
Sweden was far north ; but Scania is like England, splendid 
woods of beech and oak, and flowers innumerable. 

Korby. — We have just made another stage from Lund of 
nine miles, and are waiting a few minutes while a black- 
smith mends the tyre of the wheel of my bargain ; but really 
the machine promises well, and will I hope sell for near 
what I gave for it, so as to cover any extra expense of 
Johnson, who comes on very well. 

Nobbl'd. — Another stage, and in danger of waiting an 
hour for horses. After Christianstadt I suppose I must 
have a forebud.' The country to-day from Lund by 
Hurfra, Korby, and Wren to this place is like England, 

* Forebud — a Swedish term for a messenger or avant-coiirier, sent on to 
order horses from stage to stage. 

E E 2 

420 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvii. 

and scarcely what I had expected. The fir trees have 
been rarer I think than even in the south of England, 
and oaks and beeches and a variety of othet hard wood 
of handsome size have been spread over a country much 
like the New Forest, with the same glades opening here 
and there, but greener and much less heathy in Scania,, 
and with the difference that the country here, though hardly 
more hilly than Hants, is strewed over with innumerable 
blocks of granite and other crystalline rocks, so as some- 
times to resemble the Forest of Fontainebleau. The 
weather delicious, roads good, though not quite equal to 
England. It is most creditable to the Swedes to have made 
such roads without turnpikes. Every here and there are 
gates opened by children, who are pleased with the sixth or 
even twelfth part of a farthing. The juniper has been 
nearly as plentiful to-day as heath in England or Scotland. 
All the floors of the rooms are strewed with it. Between 
Hurfra and Korbj' we were for hours in sight of a noble lake, 
by the side of which are several country seats of noblemen 
and gentlemen, which look much like England. I went to 
the shore of the lake, and found it covered with stones, on 
which were abundance of the common Succinea amphibia. A 
squirrel was sitting on a great stone close to the road when we 
passed : it played about when we were very near, and looked 
at us. I saw a great many bogs, as in the New Forest, and 
horses feeding in them up to their knees in mud. 

Ohristianstadt. — This is a neat fortified town ; horse 
artillery exercising ; passport demanded for the first time. 
Stopped at the gate while a blacksmith repaired the iron of 
the wheel of the carriage. Symptoms also of one spring of 
the said vehicle letting one side of our seat down a little ; 
but it runs well, and in this cheap country the two repairs, 
which at Strasburg might have produced a heavy bill, were 
only 2s. 2d. 

Karlshamn : June 10, — Johnson comes on very well, and is 
an excellent whip. After Ohristianstadt I made an excursion 
quite out of the way to visit the lake of Ifosjon, in the middle 
of which is the isle of Ifo (pronounced Ivon), where beneath 
the sand and boulder formation, under which in general the 
country is buried, appears in steep cliffs a calcareous green 

1S34. BACKE-HASTEN. 421 

sand of the chalk era, with numerous belemnites, some 
oysters, and a few cranias. Of the belemnite, a species — 
which I believe is only Swedish — was so plentiful that I filled 
some small boxes full. Getting boats and cars for this expedi- 
tion, and waiting for each, cost much time. There is a village 
on the isle, which is rich and beautiful, and we found an intel- 
ligent clergyman, who insisted on our dining with him, and 
while his horses were sent for to take us to a clilF, his 
daughter, who had waited at dinner, played from a book some 
pieces on a piano, with a kind of flute accompaniment, for it 
was half an organ. I cannot say much for the melody. Tlie 
priest, as Johnson called him, has the reputation of speaking 
many languages, but he knows nothing but Swedish. I 
tried him in vain in Latin. He gave me a fossil or two, and 
offered me some stone hatchets. Before Christianstadt we 
passed a huge block of granite, as large as a good-sized 
house, which even in this country of boulders is a wonder, 
and is called the phantom stone ' Trollesten,' the subject of 
many a legend of witches. 

Karlshamn: June 10, 1834 — I mentioned the Trollesten in 
my last. When talking of those legends we asked the inn- 
keeper whether the peasants about him believed in the 
'Brook-horse,' or ' Backe-hasten,' pronounced Bake-hasteten, 
the e in the first word as in German. I had seen in the 
morning many horses and pigs up to their middle in the 
■Scanian bogs, feeding, and thought how elephants of old 
and other cattle got mired for the benefit of our modern 
anatomists. This evil spirit corresponds exactly, I conceive, 
to the water-kelpie. The host began by saying how rapidly 
all these superstitions were disappearing; and then con- 
fessed that very lately, when a cow of his was put out to 
grass, and came home lean, and with her back rubbed and 
raw, nothing would persuade his servants that anything 
could be done for the beast. It was the Backe-hasten which 
had been riding it : there was nothing else the matter. This 
demon tempts the cattle into mires, and the peasants after 
them, and carries them out to where they sink, and drives 
the cattle, &c. Among other stories I am told that, as find- 
ing of buried treasure is of no uncommon occurrence still, 
there ai-e some persons gifted with a magic glass, which, 

422 s/J^ CHARLES LYELL. chap, xvii, 

wlien they take it out with a lantern at night, shows them 
where the hidden monej- is. If anyone gets nnaccount- 
ahly rich in trade, &e., it is attributed to his having a glass. 
But as dragons guard the treasure, it is dangerous to take 
it. If you ask what sort of dragons, they say like the 
great wooden one in the church at Stockholm, which St. 
George js killing. About four years ago, a live alligator in 
very good condition was found in the fields near Lund, and 
was taken by the peasants for one of these dragons ; so that 
it was not till they had collected in considerable numbers 
that they ventured to seize him and carry him to Lund, 
where he now appears in the museum as a stuffed specimen. 
Malmo, the nearest port, was twelve miles off, but he is 
supposed to have swum ashore from a wrecked vessel at 
Helsingborg, thirty miles off, his line of march being traced 
by the slaughter of geese, which had been attributed to the 
unusual rapacity of the foxes. As it was the heat of 
summer, the creature had probably formed a tolerably good 
0]3inion of Scania. 

I give the story as told me, but unluckily did not hear it 
before I left Lund, so could not get from Mlsson an authentic 
account. We get on very slowly, though the roads are good, 
but the delays are so numerous. They often send the merest 
children to bring back the horses, who have hardly strength 
to hold the reins, so it is fortunate I have a good driver as 
a companion. For three years he was a probationary 
preacher, having, as is usual, obtained leave from the 
bishop to that effect. My collection of belemnites excited 
much curiosity. In the country where they are common the 
people call them candles, saying that the witches burnt 
them. When transparent, they are not very unlike the 
amber so common on the shores of the Baltic. 

Hoby : June 10. — It seems to me we shall never get tO' 
Stockholm at the rate we move on. We have only j-et met 
two other carriages since Malmo — posting. I oaly wonder the 
inns are so good. What a vast country this is ! Blaking 
is very beautiful, granite covered with wood, and blocks of 
granite among the trees. The rye bread is sometimes nearly 
white, and sweet and palatable. Along the road are black 
painted boards, with the initials of the peasant who is to keep 

l834- CASTLE OF KALMAR. 423 

it in order. I should be quite lost witliout an interpreter. 
Jolinson is a perfect gentleman in his manners and feeling, 
and, when we were with the priest's family in Ifo, played his 
part admirably. 

June, 11. — Yesterday we slept at Ronneby, a Swedish 
watering-place situated in a picturesque granite country. 
Nilsson had begged me to inquire about the discovery of 
shells near the river at Eonneby, which I did from a fine old 
clergyman, whom they call the Dean, and who is much 
respected for his learning. Dean Weltergrund visited the 
spot with me, and cross-examined the men who dug the 
trench. This morning we were off by half-past sis to Karls- 
crona, where I failed in seeing the docks, which are not shown 
to strangers. They are said to prove that the sea has not 
fallen there. The northern part of Blaking, which, like 
Scania, once belonged to the Danes, has afforded the first 
fir woods I had yet seen. The juniper is very ambitious 
there, and aspires to be a tree, riaing sometimes to near 
fourteen feet ; and putting aside its shrubby, bushy growth, 
it is then quite handsome, a sort of northern cypress. We 
have also passed some woods of birch, but never saw large 

Kalmar : June 12. — To-day I have been examining and 
taking a sketch of the ancient castle here, now a prison, and 
it affords proof, I think, of the very slight, if any, change of 
relative level of land and sea since 600 years. It is a fine 
old castle, and stood many a good fight with the Danes. 
We saw the hall in which the treaty of union of Sweden, 
Denmark, and Norway was signed. I have been about the 
latitude of Edinburgh and Fife, and the climate and natural 
productions seem very similar. We have had no great heat 
nor cold, but the best kind of weather both for travelling and 
working. I aiu just returned from an examination of the 
beach. It seems as if the Baltic, being neither good for fresh 
nor salt-water shells, had not yet received a peculiar brackish 
tribe of its own. I only found a few small cockles and 
mussels, one Tellina Baltica and Lymnea ovata'? the latter 
alive and in abundance. 

June 13. — We are penetrating into the interior from 
Kalmar. All the houses have been of wood, almost through 

424 S/i; CHARLES LYELL. chap. xvii. 

our whole route, even in many towns. It is a great country 
of peasants, all of whom have a little land. They invariably 
take off their hats as they pass us. This morning some poor 
children brought out each of them a pottle of fine ripe wood 
strawbei'ries, to sell for a halfpenny each — the baskets in- 
geniously made of the bark of the birch sewn together. 
With rich cream at the post-house, and some sugar, we had 
a fine dish for two, for twopence halfpenny. We are now 
passing numerous lakes, in a flatfish granite country, covered 
with fir wood, and here and there a piece of better land 
with rye upon it, fenced in with fir fences. I have just got 
a new light in regard to good roads and cheap posting. The 
peasants, it seems, hold their lands upon the tenure of keep- 
ing the roads in order, and providing horses. This last, 
though paid for, is generally looked upon as a tax, and only 
on some roads, where they are very poor and the travelling 
frequent, do they profit. They take turns in turning out 
steeds, which are sometimes taken from the plough. This 
is a sort of feudal service, and the traveller is admitted to 
share the privilege of a ' lord superior,' and have the services 
of his vassals. 

NorJcoping. — Yesterday I pushed on about a hundred 
miles, finding the horses always ready, but I was on the road 
from five o'clock in the morning till half-past nine o'clock. 
A country of rock, fir wood, and peasantry. It seems to me 
that I have never seen a shop since I entered Sweden. Even 
at Linkoping and this place there only appeared things to 
sell in one or two windows. T have not been at all annoyed 
by dirt, but then I am not always inquiring for it, a I'Ang- 
laise. Twice I have been slightly bitten by the insect tribe. 
To-day I went a round by Berg and the west side of Lake 
Eoxen, to visit limestone and slate quarries. The locks of 
the great canal, which are the wonder of Sweden, appear 
nothing to an Englishman. The cost, however, was severe 
on this poor country. The numerous smaller lakes of Oster- 
gothland reminded me of Windermere and the English lakes. 
The rooms are strewed here with the leaves of the birch tree. 
Every room I have seen in Sweden is strewed with this, or 
juniper, partly to scent the rooms, and in part to conceal dirt 
on the boarded floors. 






Norhoping : June 15, 1834. — It is now twenty-five days that 
we liave been separated, and I have often thought of what 
you said, that the active occupation in which I should 
constantly be engaged would give me a great advantage 
over you. I trust, however, that you also have been actively 
employed. At leisure moments I have done some things 
towards planning my next volume. It will be necessary for 
us to have a work together at fossils, at Kinnordy first, and 
then in town, and then in Paris. When at Kinnordy, if you 
could get some disciples to teach them fossil conchology from 
Deshayes' work, it would be a great step. I picked Lymnea 
auricularis out of the Gotha Canal, where it flourishes, as at 
Poppelsdorf. I find that the work at the loess shells has 
made me acquainted with nearly every freshwater and land 
shell I have yet met with here, which is encouraging. 
Mlsson gave me his little work on the shells of Sweden. 
When I consider how thinly the population is scattered 
over this vast country, and that rich natives and foreigners 
are passing along the high roads, and that the woods con- 
tain no robbers, I am lost in wonder. But then every pea- 
sant has something; there are scarce any paupers. The 
peasants drive along in their light cars, with loads of deal 
planks, at the rate of six or seven miles an hour, and often 

426 sm CHARLES LYELL. chap. XVIIi. 

kept up with us. They are a well-grown race. We saw a 
great number of jays in the woods, and I observed some 
insects which are common in the south of England, such as 
Pajnlio rhanini, which do not go so far north as Scotland. 
It is enough that they have a little very hot weather, and 
they care not for cold, as they can be dormant. If I had 
not seen them, I should hardly have thought that it was 
hotter here than in Scotland in summer. Much rain in the 
last two days, but only in showers. Drivers spoke with 
glee of ten cubs of wolves just caught, but no old one 

Stockholm: June 19. — I have been two days in this capital, 
and like what I have seen of it much. But before I begin 
upon it, I must endeavour to fill up my journal. The Nor- 
koping steamer went first smoothly down the river, the 
same which drains off the surplus waters of Wettern, and 
several other lakes, banks covered with fir, and islands 
and a broad river. Scarce anything but wood and rock. 
We came in a few hours to the open sea, and a gust of vdnd 
caused a swell, which made the ladies ill. They were 
merchants' wives and daughters. After a few hours of this 
we entered a passage between an endless string of islets and 
the mainland. The water here smooth as a mill-pond. We 
passed swiftly on in deep water, close to the rocks, on the 
barest of which are a few firs in the clefts. These are evi- 
dently the summit of submarine mountains. We then in 
the night came to the Sodertelje Canal, which joins the sea 
and Lake Malar. We had to wait here several hours till 
the lock was open, and the time was spent in taking in 

No. 4 Norre Smidje Gatan {North Smith Street), Stock- 
holm. — Whilei we slept, a quantity of fuel was taken into the 
boat, not black, dirty coal, but sweet-smelling fir wood, which 
never makes the least smoke from the chimney that was 
visible, and leaves the sails quite white. Early in the morn- 
ing of the 17th the gate of the lock opened, and we ascended 
into the lakes. 

The banks of the lake were of granite, covered with fir 
and some oak and birch ; beautiful, yet perhaps somewhat 
monotonous, after the similar scenery before, until the fine 

i834- BERZELIUS. 427 

city of Stockholm came in view, so superior in its site to 
Copenhagen, from the uneven ground on which it stands, 
and the numerous deep friths which intersect it, and 
the strong, deep current which runs out of Lake Malar 
through it. The inns were full, hut I soon got a lodg- 
ing here in a good central place. Went to Berzelius, 
and had from him a most kind reception, and to business at 
once. ' You have time to do much,' said he, ' provided you 
can escape dinners' He went at once to the point, and 
having told me much that he knew about changes of level, 
offered to drive me next morning to some interesting spots 
in his drosky. He also introduced me to the keeper of the 
Museum of the Academy Eoyal of Sciences, of which he, 
Berzelius, is the head, or secretary ; and they find him a 
good mansion, and I suppose a salary besides. He lectures 
on chemistry to the College of Physicians. He was the 
son of a priest, of a good family, educated for medicine, but 
never practised it, but early devoted himself to science. Was 
ennobled by the present King, without any title, except some 
orders, which however are only appended to his name, as he 
is still ' Professor de (af) Berzelius.' He has officiated in 
the Chamber of Peers at some Diets, but tells me he has 
cut politics, and a Peer may, when the Diet opens, declare 
whether he will or not act in it. The present Diet is an 
extraordinary one, called by the King to convert the paper 
circulation into coin. The bank-notes descend now to the 
sum of three-pence English ! and are almost all in rags. On 
the morning of the 18th I spent five whole hours with 
Berzelius, tete-a-tete. After all kinds of hints, which I noted 
down for my tour, he drove me to see some alluvial pheno- 
mena near the Observatory, and in the beautiful roj'al parks, 
a few miles north of this city, of Haga and TJlricsdal, in 
both of which are fine lakes and woods and country palaces. 
Then to Solna, where marine recent shells are found some 
thirty feet above the sea. Berzelius entertained me with 
results of his last analysis of meteoric stones, which h& 
believes come from the moon. While I made drav^ings, and 
collected specimens, Berzelius gathered grass for his well-fed 
and handsome dun pony, which he is great friends with, 
and can leave him quite alone. ' As he only gets hay,' said 

42 S S/Ji CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviii. 

Berzelius, ' all the year in the stable, every mouthful of this 
is a sweetmeat to him.' 

Stockholm : June 21. — After I came home from my ride 
with Berzelius, in the middle of the day, I dined at the 
Club, or Society, as it is called, a handsome building over- 
looking the strom, or grand current which issues from Lake 
Malar. Here some of the gentlemen helped me to order 
dinner, which only cost about a shilling, beer included. 
Afterwards to Colonel Blom, who drove me in his carriage 
through the ' deer park,' to show me this royal park which 
is open to the public, in which he, Blom, has erected several 
of the ' transportable houses ' of which he was the inventor. 
They can be put up in a few weeks anywhere, well heated 
with stoves : are made of wood, painted with oil. The King 
had one in a great hurry once, to give a fete in the park, 
and was so pleased with it, that it is now cased in stone, 
and forms a country palace, of which Blom gave me a draw- 
ing. On the 19th I saw Hisinger for the first time, for he 
is much taken up with committees of the Diet. He is oldish, 
good-humoured, but has withal rather a triste manner. I 
expected more of a devotee, and suspect it is an unfavourable 
time when a man is worked with political affairs. I got an 
old plan of Stockholm from Blom, and we went through 
Professor Johnston's article in Jamieson ' together, whose 
proofs of the fall of the water here are so bad and exagge- 
rated, and some of them absurd, that it is enough to provoke 
scepticism. I determined next day to examine the spots, 
which Professor Johnston cannot have done. I was intro- 
duced by Blom to Lieutenant-Colonel Lundstedt, who re- 
places Hallstrom, whose absence all are regretting, for my 
sake. Next day (yesterday) I went with my interpreter in 
a caleche to all places cited in the article in Jamieson's 
Journal, a beautiful drive, and satisfied myself that, though 
the water may be falling, most of the historical proofs 
adduced are ridiculously nugatory. One case for example. 
Charles XI. built a fishing lodge 150 years ago, which stands 
thirty feet above water. This near the lake, but now far 
from it, and high above it; but I found a great oak, which 

' Jamieson's Edinhi/rgh Pldlosophical Jowrnal, 1833. On the Rise of Land 
-in Sweden, by J. F. W. Johnston, F.E.S.E. 

i834- STOCKHOLM. 420- 

is upwards of two hundred years old, and which I measured, 
and of which the base is eight feet only above the lake. 
This oak then loved the water 150 or 200 years ago more 
than our willows do now. The hut must have always been, 
within a foot or two, as far from the lake as now. I spent 
two hours with Hisinger, who gave me four volumes of his 
works, with some plates and maps, all in Swedish. Eead 
Swedish for the first time one hour with Johnson, who 
teaches pretty well. 

Stockholm, : June 22, 1834. — Stron, the Keeper of 
Woods and Torests, has offered to measure the height of 
Charles XL's oak, and has sent me in his reasons for saying 
it is four hundred years old, and much more valuable infor- 
mation. I am now in hopes, by the altitude of this tree, to 
fix a limit to the possible rate of the rise of land here. I 
must stay here a day or two more. A new man. Col. Norde- 
wall, comes into the field to-morrow, willing and able to serve 
me. Berzelius says : ' I see you wiU extract what I could 
not get him to print, because he will see that you must have 
it at once, and he is a procrastinator.' This is justly called 
the Venice of the North, and now the sun is powerful, 
though hitherto the weather in Sweden has been delightful. 
Prince Oscar, who is Lord High Admiral, is to review the 
fleet to-morrow, and it has come into the suburbs, and four 
or five ships of war, among them one good-sized frigate, 
have actually cast anchor opposite the windows of the 
palace, such is the depth of these blue friths, which are yet 
so narrow as by no means to detract from the height of the 
houses. The bronze equestrian statue of Gustavus II., and 
those of other kings in the squares, are in a superior style. 
I shall only hear the cannon at a distance to-morrow, as I 
am determined to go to Sodertelje again, and next day to 
Upsala. I have fully determined to return to Stockholm 
after a tour to Gefle, and a little to the north of Gefle, then 
Fahlun, Sala, and here. I am making myself master of the 
kind of evidence relied on for the change of level of the 
Baltic, and it is necessary to cross-examine both nature and 
man. The testimony of the former is strong ; of the latter, I 
must say, so weak and contradictory, that I require to know 
the men, and find how they got their views. I must 



endeavour to see Hallstrom. Old Nordewall stands me out 
that a bed of Oardium, edule, 100 feet high, proves that the 
fresh water of Lake Malar was once that much higher. 

Tour letter came to-day, and was most welcome, and 
better than the fete, for which I partly stayed, knowing that 
Johnson thought it a sin to he out of town. In its way it 
was fine. The troops, both Swedes and Norwegians, well- 
grown men. The parade very fine. The ships of war 
opposite the palace covered with gay flags. Afterwards the 
yards manned. All over in a short time. I afterwards 
drove in a gig to talk with Berzelius, then to Nordewall, 
then to the suburbs. 

Upsala : June 26. — The Sodertelje expedition told more 
than anyone I have made in Sweden. Shells of the Baltic 
nearly one hundred feet high. AU that I got at Liibeck save 
Mya arenaria, and perhaps that is not a Bothnian Gulf 
species. But what think you of ships in the same formation ? 
— nay, a house. It is as true as the Temple of Serapis. I do 
not mean that I discovered all this, but I shall be the first 
to give a geological account of it. I came home in high 
spirits at this prize, and the chiUing influence of old Hisinger 
was more than thawed. I think I have hit on his character. 
Sweden is his preserve, and he wants no young poachers. 
If you ask for instructions to such a place, he will say, ' Oh, 
that is all known akeady.' I told Berzelius of what I 
thought of Sodertelje, and he was not staggered at my 
requiring an enormous subsidence and re-elevation. Had 
NordewaU or Captain Cronstrand only known that neither a 
(Jardium nor a Tellina will live in a lake, it would have saved 
them a world of trouble. 

Upsala : June 26. — We were sent off from two inns, and 
this, into which we have found our way, seems excellent and 
full. I went to bed without candles last night, after eleven 
o'clock, and happening to wake at three o'clock, found 
it daylight. This I believe is about the latitude of the 
Shetland Isles, yet a nice summery-looking land in this 
season. In a stream to-day, slow flowing, I found num- 
bers of Planorhis corneus ; at Lund, marginatus was equally 

June 27. — Wahlenberg exceedingly polite and gentle- 


manlike, but seems sickly, wliich some here attribute to his 
being a martyr to the homoeopathic system. As he is now 
full of botany, he handed me over to Herr Adjuncter 
Marklin, an assistant professor, who was a peasant, and only 
began to read and write at the age of twenty-one. Very 
simple. He tells me he has only 17Z. sterling a year, but never 
sells fossils or other things : an enthusiast, full of knowledge 
and originality. I have learnt much from him already, and 
on finding he was delighted with Eang, I gave it to him, 
and he has given me duplicate copies which he had of Dal- 
man and Wahlenberg, on trilobites, and has presented me 
with shells collected on the coast of Norway, and with some 
transition fossils of Sweden, of which his collection is beau- 
tiful. We talk German together, and regularly have 
recourse to> Latin when either of us are at fault. He is 
about fifty, and when I mislaid my gloves, he remarked that 
he was fortunate in never having had any. I should not be 
surprised if they who search for the shirt of the happy man, 
should find no such incumbrance on him. Certain it is that 
when the City of Frankfort offered him four or five times 
his present income to be keeper of their Museum, &c., he 
declined, partly, he confessed to me, because the German 
■diet makes him ill. He has a collection of insects, in which 
this country seems very rich, having many species which we 
•consider more southern. I have been with him through 
Linnseus's Garden, where the hedges of fir, clipped, stand as 
he planted them {Pinus abies). Linnseus had five children : 
the son died young, and aU but the eldest of the four 
daughters are married. They are much delighted at 
foreigners coming to see the house in which their father 
lived, especially at Hammerby, in the country. I may per- 
haps have scarcely understood part of the story, but Marklin 
was speaking of some Englishman who obtained from Miss 
Linnseus the cups out of which the old gentleman drank, 
and sent in return from England a service of plates with the 
LinncBa horealis painted on each article. I saw his lecture- 
room, and Wahlenberg showed me his statue in another 
place. There are nine hundred students here. 

June 28. — Besides zoologising yesterday at Marklin's, I 
went to the hill, a hundred feet high, on which the tower 


stands, to examine marine shells. All of Baltic species. 
You remember that in the half-hour between the two steam- 
boats at Liibeck, or rather Travemunde, I collected shells 
by the quay. Not one fossil have I found newer than the 
chalk in Sweden that was not in the number of those 
found living, in that half-hour. To-day, after studying with 
Marklin, I saw Col. Bruncrona, chief of the Swedish pilotage 
for many years. I am to get some hints from him to- 
morrow, I hope, about the marks at Gefle. Tornea (says 
Wahlenberg) is not so well worth examining as Gefle for 
this point. Afterwards I went, at Wahlenberg's recommen- 
dation, to Ulfva, three or four miles off. I went in style, 
with my driver, my interpreter Johnson, and, thirdly, my 
naturalist Marklin, and a good pair of steeds to my carriage, 
which after, on the whole, about four guineas repair, seems 
fit to go the world over. 

June 29. — I have learnt much geology here. It is fine 
agreeable summer weather. Linnseus's Garden looking very 
like one in Hampshire, and no signs of a latitude north of 
Cape Wrath. 

June 30. — I am stopping at a house in a fir wood, between 
Upsala and the great iron mines of Danemora, while horses 
are sent for. Nothing could have told more than my stay of 
three days at Upsala. I have got a date for some of the 
largest erratic blocks, and shall quite overset the debacle 
theory, and I expect bring in ice-carriage as the cause. I hope 
to stay two hours only at Danemora. My point now is to 
examine several places where marks were made in the rocks 
about fourteen years ago by Bruncrona. One of these is 
near the port of Oregrund. I had a famous elementary 
lesson in trilobites from Markliu, and wish you had been 
there. All the recent animals most analogous were put 
before me, and the principles on which the fossils have been 
classified explaintsd. At Ulfva I found recent Baltic shells 
in clay. I visited on the way home Gama Upsala (Old U.), 
where there is a church, in which Marklin says the 
Catholic worship was for some time performed in one part 
of the ancient temple, while the heathens sacrificed human 
victims to Thor and Odin in the other. Near the church 
are three immense tumuli, in which those two idols, and 

1 834- THE EARTH MOVES. 433 

Frigga, Odin's wife, were buried. It is the custom to drink 
a glass of mead (honey and wine, or spirit from barley, I 
believe) on the top of Thor's tomb, and as the King had 
lately done so, said the peasant who drove us, he supposed 
I should, which accordingly we did. The beverage was not 
bad. The tradition of the joint worship is believed. The 
priests of Odin and Thor have taken advantage of a natural 
ridge of sand and gravel, and by cutting part of it into 
gigantic hummocks, have skilfully enough given the appear- 
ance of a stupendous work. This was a trick worthy of 
some of the Catholics who supplanted them. The iron mine 
at Danemora is a grand sight, but for want of a good guide, 
whom I could understand, I did not gain much, and there 
appears to be no interesting geological phenomena to be 
seen there. I am beginning to tire of fir woods again, 
though now and then varied by birch. It has been rather 
monotonous, whereas between the capital and TJpsala it was 
much the reverse. It is a detour of a day nearly that I am 
making to Oregrund, to see a mark in the rock. I had a 
very pleasant walk with Wahlenberg to see a meadow near 
Upsala, where several marine plants, as Glaux maritima, 
which require salt, still flourish. The sea does not come 
nearer now than Stockholm : there is salt in the soil. 

Oregrund : July 1. — A nice little port, with ships lying at 
anchor. Just returned with the Lieutenant of the Pilotage 
from the first examination of marks in the rocks. Results, 
as far as our observation goes, very decided and satisfactory. 
I am exceedingly glad I came here before Gefle. I think of 
making a report to the Royal Academy at Stockholm. Went 
in a boat about three and a half hours' pull, with four rowers. 
The place of the mark, and the mode of marking, well 
chosen. I had with me the pilot who made the mark 
fourteen years ago. It seems true, as Galileo said in a 
different sense, ' that the earth moves.' I found a Neritina 
on the rocks where the mark was, four specimens. We are 
just going to set off on our way to Gefle, through more fir 
Avoods. In these woods the quantity of ant-hills at the foot 
of the fir trees is quite extraordinary, and of great height, 
but scarcely, I think, larger on the whole than those in the 
New Forest, only higher. I have been determining that in 

VOL. I. F F 

434 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviii. 

October, while I attend Daniell's lectures, I shall go on with 
zoology steadily, and we will study together. In a day or 
two, my dearest love, I shall be again turning towards you, 
and with the satisfaction of having accomplished the object 
of my journey, and with having, I am sure, reaped the fruit 
of the sacrifice we have both made in the separation, so far 
as my scientific career is concerned. 

Qejle : July 2. — I forget whether I told you that at Upsala 
I saw the famous Liber Argenteus,^ of which I fancy you 
read more than I could tell you in Clarke and elsewhere. I 
have found a new locality for Baltic shells. I begin to have 
great hopes that I shall feel strong enough in original 
matter and in decisive results to read my paper to the 
Eoyal Society. 

Fahlun : July 5. — -I had the chief pilot at Gefle for a day 
and a half, and visited two of the principal marks made in 
1820 at Lofgrund and Esjko Sound. A retired sea captain 
of Gefle volunteered going with us. He had traded much 
with Hull, and has the reputation of knowing English well, 
as he was so much in England. Partly not to expose his 
great ignorance of the language, and partly to please his 
own reserved humour, he hardly uttered a word the whole 
time ; but he was so good-humoured and willing to do just 
as we liked, and to help to steer, &c., that we were as well 
with him as not. The first day it was very cold, with the 
wind against us, and slow work. I learnt much about the 
action of ice in these seas from the sailors and pilot, and 
we landed at Lofgrund, and drank milk in some summer 
fishing huts, where we found a nice peasant's family. 1 
measured the stone at Lofgrundet, where there was one 
mark made in 1731, several feet above the sea. One of the 
fisher huts had been broken to pieces by the fall of a fir tree 
upon it. We next landed on the island of Edsko klubb, but 
could not hear news there of a mark which the pilot thought 
there was. Then I measured the line cut on St. Olaf 's stone 
in Edsko Sund, and, it being late, determined to sleep there. 
The accommodation was scanty enough, but we had taken 
provisions with us. I slept well for four hours, and then 

* The Codex Argenteiis, containing the four Gospels in silver letters, a MS. 
of great antiquity. 

jS34- an early cruise. 435 

waking, and seeing the sea quite calm, I got up, woke the 
pilot, and told him that as he said the evening before that 
my obseryation was incomplete from the state of the wind and 
sea, perhaps we now had a good opportunity of rectifying 
it. He was a sprightly, good-humoured young man, and 
very intelligent. He immediately jumped up, and declared 
that the sea was in so favourable a state, just at its mean 
level and quite calm, that no time should be lost. With 
great despatch all the things and his men were ready, and 
the old captain, who was never so happy as when sitting in 
the boat, was down among the first. As for Johnson, who 
sleeps hard, as he says, he was bundled out of bed, wondering 
that ' having ordered coffee, I should go without it.' Away 
we rowed down the sound, and revisited the huge stone, and 
I found the sea, as the pilot had predicted, several inches 
lower. I returned then to Gefle, much pleased, having gone 
about forty miles by sea in our excellent boat, and which 
sailed very well against wind. Had I taken a common 
fisher boat, I might have been beating about three days or 
more. Got off the same day towards Fahlun, and penetrated 
farther than I had ever done before into the interior of 
Sweden. A land of goats, none of which I had before seen 
nearer the coast. 

July 6. — Johnson, who gets on in many respects very well, 
is so slow at getting up in the morning, that I have taken 
up the thing in earnest, having lost on the whole journey 
several days by want of method in posting. I have ordered 
the carriage to be greased over night, and have got up some 
phrases in Swedish, to order the man myself. He is 
astonished to see already the difference ; but T will show him 
yet, when I have a few more words, that we can do a stage at 
least more in the same day's work, for when the horses come 
he has a number of things to do, and the bill is never paid. 
We are now stopping at a stage between Fahlun and Sala, 
havino- crossed more than once the Dal Elfven, one of the 
largest rivers in Sweden, of which we have seen much. I 
suppose I mentioned that, at Skjerplinge, the falls of that 
great river over the granite are very grand. Niagara in 
miniature, I suppose ; but the island covered with firs which 
divides the waters is beautiful. The people of Dalecarlia, 

v F 2 

436 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviii 

whicL. we entered yesterday, are a fine-grown race, and the 
cottages of the peasants quite handsome. Wood painted 
red, with very large panes of glass in the windows, and good 
stoves in the German style in every room. The beds look 
poor and not perhaps (except the sheets) very clean ; but I 
sleep sound, am rarely bitten, and on the whole find the 
plain diet agree with me. 

6, Evening. — I have just seen the great silver mine. The 
metal is in a beautiful rock of crystalline limestone. 

Stochholm: 7. — I feel now what I was very sensible of 
when correcting my last edition, that I was not justified in 
writing any more until I had done all in my power to ascer- 
tain the truth in regard to ' the great northern phenomenon,'^ 
as the gradual rise of part of Sweden has been very naturally 
called. You will see by-and-by how important a point it 
was, and how materially it will modify my mode of treating 
the science, and how much it will advance the theory of the 
agency of existing causes, as a key to explain geological 
phenomena. I should much like next year to find Deshayes' 
manual just coming out, or just finished. My plan is to 
take up by degrees the zoology of geology in all its branches, 
but to make shells the great business. 

To Leonard Hoenbe, Esq. 

Stockholm : July 9, 1834. 

My dear Horner, — I shall be at Hull, unless some unfore- 
seen obstacle occurs, by the packet which should arrive 
there on the 25th of this month. I am longing for Mary's 
company again, and hope to join her just within the ten 
weeks, or seventy days, which, as Mr. Kennedy told her, was 
a generous concession in her to make, by way of leave of 
absence. The sacrifice any other way wo^ild have been 
great, for to do what I have, would have required nearly 
perpetual absences, in boating excursions and others, and 
much roughing on the road, which I have not felt, because 
not only excited, but in the field all day. But the country 
inns and poor peasants' houses would have been wretched 
abodes for a woman, unable to keep up with the geology. 
I have seen a glorious country, and have examined many of 

1 834- COPPER MINES. 437 

the marks made in 1820, all now some inches above actual 
sea-level. The observations may be slighted by some, 
because this sea rises and falls two or three feet in the course 
of the year, but when the season and other circumstances 
are taken fairly into account, it has made on me a strong 
impression. My interpreter has enabled me to cross-examine 
pilots and merchants and fishermen. Another line of 
research has been the huge drift blocks, or Baltic boulders 
or ' erratic blocks,' which cover all Denmark and Sweden. 
Their size is often enormous. Some I have ascertained have 
been placed where they are in times exceedingly modern, 
geologicaUj' speaking, certainly late in Newer Pliocene period. 
I believe that ice has brought them. I have questioned the 
pilots closely about the agency of ice, in which they believe. 
I am persuaded that ice can do much for us. The examina- 
tion of Baltic species of shells above the sea-level at various 
heights, some at new localities which I have found, is a grand 
fact. I have still to see TJddevalla. I was glad to hear that 
you had been finTiing, or lizard catching, with Lord Greenock, 
who has that greatest of all merits, loving the subject. The 
Swedes seem to me more like the English than either the 
Oermans or French. They have most of our faults and 
merits. Not so many simple characters as in Germany. 
The heat is now very great here, and Stockholm looks almost 
like an Italian city, and feels like it. I have had nearly 
constant dry weather, scarcely three days with any rain, 
which, with only three hours of night, has enabled me to do 
much in a short time. I think of writing a paper for the 
Eoyal Society on the elevation facts, and for the Geological 
Society on Danish chalk. 

I have not said in my letters to Mary that I have looked 
in vain for any fine natural woods : all the large old trees are 
cut down, even where the country is fully wooded and a 
continuous forest. I have visited the greatest copper mine 
of "Fahlun, of silver at Sala, and of iron at Danemora. I 
cannot say that they have edified me much as to the causes 
of the metallic phenomena, but I was ill prepared to profit by 
them. The silver occurs with lead in an enormous mass of 
pure crystalline saccharoid limestone, not got through, at the 
depth of 180 fathoms — the calcareous mass in the midst of 

438 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviiu 

gneiss. I am glad to hear Mary is looking better, and 
liope it will be some years before I shall be called to settle 
any other point in the northern regions, for settled it is aa 
far as my private opinion goes, and that I shall make future 
tours with her. 

Believe me, your affectionate son-in-law, 

Charles Ltell. 


StocJtholm : July 10, 1834. — An expedition with Colonel 
HaUstrom, to see one of the Baltic shell beds of Brankyrka,. 
never before examined by any geologist, proved remarkably 
how much it is necessary to know what to look for in order to 
find. Hisinger said, ' As you have seen Sodertelje, and other 
places, what do you expect to find more ? ' I answered, " Either 
I shallfind the freshwater species which now inhabit the Baltic 
mixed with the marine, or 1 shall begin to thiuk that that sea 
of old was more salt than now.' Accordingly I found for the 
first time at Brankyrka all the marine shells before met with,, 
and in addition, the Neritina and Lymnea I had been wanting. 
I so wished you had been there. Both the Colonel and Johnson 
entered with spirit into the search (seventy feet above the 
sea), and wondered, when the shells turned out, which I had 
complained of missing elsewhere. 10 p.m. — I have been 
with Colonel Blom, walking in the ' deer park,' and seeing 
the site of an intended royal museum for works of art, to 
be built after Blom's plans. Berzelius had been requested 
by the King to see if the marble was good. I suppose he 
had spoken of me, for when we talked, said Blom, of rapid 
travelling, the King said, ' There is an English gentleman here 
inquiring at what rate the sea is being turned into land ; ' and 
when Blom said he knew me, the King said, ' You may learn 
then from him how soon England will be joined to Sweden,, 
and when we may think of a railroad communication.' 

Johnson has just told me a capital anecdote to illustrate 
the superstition of the Scanian peasants. A lady he knew 
asked one of them whether he would answer for a horse, he 
wished to sell her, being not apt to take fright. ' That I 
can,' said the peasant. ' He stood for three weeks in my 

1834- RETURN JOURNEY. 439 

stable, night and day, alow, and I never could see tliat he 
showed the slightest symptoms of fear.' 

Marklin sent the fossils, such as he had time to pack up, 
as he had promised, to Stockholm. He diverted me much 
by his originality, and among other things, when lamenting 
at Gamla XJpsala that the wood had been so cut down, 
young and old all cleared away, he remonstrated with a 
peasant that they would soon feel it. " Not in our time,' was 
the reply, ' those woods are so near.' ' Well,' said Marklin, 
' it may be you will not in your time here, but have you not 
heard that there is another place where the wood will warm 
you — when every tree wastefully cut down in this world 
is to be burnt over again, for the punishment of those who 
felled it?' 

July 12. — We came by Sodertelje, Arboga, Orebro, and 
are now within a stage of Marienstad, through a fine sunny 
country, where they are carrying hay, which smells very 
sweet, and where the rye and wheat have already a yellow, 
autumnal colour. So much of Sweden is of granite and 
gneiss blocks uncovered with any soil, that it must always 
remain mere forest land, and the trees have no small 
difficulty in growing, by finding a small rent in the rocks. 
At one place I remonstrated against a horse who had a 
wound in the leg. The ostler said a wolf had bit it, and had 
not the other horses in the field come up to his rescue, he 
would have been devoured by the wolves. When I asked the 
other evening why they blow a horn in the woods at night, 
the answer was, for the wolves. They will not come near the 
cattle when they know that the herdsman is awake. This 
horn, which I have heard often, sounds savage, and like 
an alarm for an enemy. 

Marienstad: 13. — This town is finely situated on that 
inland freshwater sea Malar, and good-sized vessels, such as 
can pass the Trollhatten canal, are here. The dry weather 
has made one of the wheels in a bad way, and we are con- 
sulting with a blacksmith about a repair. It is a fortnight 
or more since any repair has been called for. We met to- 
day the diligence from Stockholm to Gotheborg, the first 
public conveyance of any sort I have yet seen on any road 
in this country. 

440 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviii. 

Lidlcbping : 14.- — I have had a grand day on Kinnekulli, 
a mountain which rises nobly on the shores of Lake Wener, 
to the height of 800 feet above the level of that lake, 
composed at the summit of volcanic rock or greenstone, and 
below of perfectly horizontal shale and limestone, in which 
are trilobites, orthoceri, &c. I worked hard, and got a pretty 
good harvest. After I wrote to you at Marienstad, we were 
overtaken by the first heavy rain we have had in Sweden, 
and arrived very \vet, at least some of the things, at a 
wretched poor cottage, the post-house at Forhsam, where 
nevertheless I slept sound and unbitten. But to-day we 
have had splendid weather, and a view I should have liked 
you to see. We could have got on farther to-day, but at this 
place were told we must wait three hours for horses, so I 
resolved to go to bed very early, and be off at four o'clock 
to-morrow morning. It is quite amusing to see how splendid 
the maypoles are here, with flower garlands, and egg-shells 
blown and gilded, round a tall fir-tree pole. 

16. — Went to see some mountains near Wenersborg, 
called Hunneberg and Halleberg. Saw a place, a great 
precipice, where devots of old threw themselves down, in. 
order to go to heaven to Odin. There is a pond below 
where the corpses were washed, and urns are dug up, in 
which the ashes of the burnt bodies were buried. These 
places are called 'attestupa.' The place is in a defile 
between the mountains before mentioned and very romantic 
scenery. I then saw the Falls of Trollhatteu, with which I 
was altogether disappointed. Mere rapids, a succession of 
them to be sure. The canal and locks are well worth seeing. 
I was very glad to get safe over the ferry of the Gotha Elf, as 
one of the horses liked the look of the rift as little as I did. 

Gotheborg : 20. — Arrived very late last night. This tour 
has answered far beyond my expectations. UddevaUa was a 
great treat, a perfect Dammerie ^ of the recent period. The 
boating to the isles of Orost and Gullholmen, and afterwards 
farther south to Marstrand, also enabled me to do much 
geology, and ascertain about the levels, which I think will 
be valued by the Eoyal Society. Shells I saw and collected, 
and I think understood, in the same places. Four of the 
' A noted place for the tertiary shells o£ the Paris Basin. 

1834- SHELLS ON SHORE. 441 

most energetically spent days I ever remember, a trial for 
the carriage, and for Jolinson's power of exertion. Botli 
stood it very tolerably, better than could be expected. I am 
surprisingly browned and disfigured with my week's work 
and boating, &c., but am thankful that without an accident, 
■or day's ill health, I have accomplished my objects. 

July 21. — Got your letter of the 1st of this month the 
moment the post office opened this morning. Last night 
found the shore of the river covered with Strombus pes-peli- 
cani, a Donax, Gardvum edule, Mytilus do., a Tellina, a Gardita, 
&c., recent species. Tasted the water, quite fresh; but it 
ivas salt, as the shells speak to that. Asked Vice-Consul 
Harrison, and was told that the sea is always retiring. 

Gornubio Steam Packet : July 22. — The timbers tremble, so 
that I must write a shaking hand. Off the low sandy 
coast of Jutland. The steamer too much loaded with 
Swedish iron to sail well, but wind quite in our favour. To re- 
turn to my tour, I found TJddevalla an agreeable, picturesque 
place, and accommodation good, because people come there 
to some hot springs in the neighbourhood. Hired a coach- 
man and horses to drive us about to the places where the 
shells occur, and got some of the barnacles attached to the 
solid rock of gneiss, and some other shells of which you must 
teU me the genus. The next morning travelled south to a 
ferry, which took us to the island of Orost, which is made of 
mica-schist, much barren rock, with heather here and there, 
and great mosses, and the soil of the Balentore part of 
Catlaw.'' The islanders very active and obliging. The pilot 
dead who had made the mark at GuUholmen : unlucky. His 
widov^ petitioned me to get Col. Lunstedt to get her the pen- 
sion she was promised. Visited rocks which had emerged in 
her lifetime. Hired the services of a smith to make a mark 

at the water's edge : , ' ,--^. ' 
^ 18. 7. 34. 

July 24. — We have been getting on, with a good wind, 
eight miles an hour, and are within one hundred miles now 
of Hull. 

Edinburgh : 27. — I have got my place outside of the 

" The Grampian hill near Kinnordy. 

■142 SIR CHARLES LYELL. chap, xviii. 

Defiance coach, so I hope it will not rain. I shall put this 
in at once. Send to Glammis. 

Tour affectionate husband, 

Charles Ltell. 

1o G. Mantell, Esq. 

16 Hart Street, London : October 1, 1834. 
My dear Mantell,^ — I am here again, returned with my 
wife a few days ago from the Edinburgh meeting, which 
went off in my opinion very well. After my return from 
Sweden I passed some weeks at my father's, in Forfarshire, 
where among other visitors, during my father's absence in 
Paris, I had to entertain Robert Brown, the botanist, for 
several days, who was good company, and had lately returned 
from a short excursion with Fitton in Portland, where he 
had collected the ' cycas,' as he now admits we may call it, 
for he has discovered new points of identity in its structure 
vnth the modern cycas. In Sweden I satisfied myself that 
both on the Baltic and Ocean side, part of that country is 
really undergoing a gradual and insensibly slow rise. A sketch 
of my observations which T gave in Edinburgh to the geo- 
logical section is already printed by Jamieson, and the 
detailed paper on the subject I mean to read to the Royal 
Society. When in Edinburgh, I promised to accompany 
Agassiz to Brighton to see your collection, and I expect him 
here in a week'; but he will be here some ten days, I suppose, 
before leaving for you. He has found about a hundred 
new species of English ichthyolites, making seven hundred 
fossils in all. He made out that all the supposed saurians of 
the carboniferous period of Scotland were only sauroidal fish, 
and that Hibbert was so far out, but they were very curious 
and new forms of fish. His readiness and knowledge are 
surprising, and you will find him very skilful in reptiles, 
though he does not profess to know anything about them, 
except that he maintains he can prove the pterodactyls to 
have been swimming, and not flying, animals ! I have been 
sketching and making some progress in a single volume 


wliich two years ago I promised Murray, a purely elementary 
work for beginners on Geology, and wMch I find more agree- 
able work than I expected. 

I have begun fossil ichthyology, and am attending 
Daniell's lectures on chemistry, so I have enough to do. 
Believe me, ever faithfully yours, 

Chakles Ltell. 

To G. Mantbll, Esq. 

16 Hart Street : December 10, 183i. 

My dear Mantell, — I ought to thank you for the warmth 
of your congratulations on my receiving the R. S. medal, 
which was sent me through my sisters, and assure you that 
the pleasure they received from it was doubled by having you 
to talk it over with, and witnessing your ecstasies at the 
news. You will be glad to hear that Greenough, who pre- 
sided at the Geological Committee of the G. S., obtained by 
letter the suffrages of many absent geologists, how many I 
know not ; but a letter of Fitton's which was read by him 
to the Council had no small influence, and assisted in over- 
ruling G.'s own doubts, which were strong on theoretical 

The medal was given me distinctly for ' the Principles,' 
not for my paper on Sweden, which is half read, the re- 
mainder to be heard on Thursday, 18th. 

Sedgwick's prebendal stall is seven hundred a year, two 
months' residence, and he is now giving occasional sermons 
in the Cathedral at Norwich, and very popular with the 
Dean, whom I saw the other day. 

Ever sincerely yours, 

Chaeles Ltell. 






[He viras elected President of the Geological Society in February 
1835, and in the course of this year he made a tour by the Jura into 
Switzerland, returning by Bonn on the Rhine, where the German 
Naturalists' Association met. 

In the summer of 1836 he went to Edinburgh and Kinnordy.] 


To Eev. Dr. Fleming, Professor op Natural Philo- 
sophy, Km&'s College, Aberdeen. 

16 Hart Street, Bloomsbury, London : January 7, 1835. 
My dear Dr. Fleming, — I was made truly happy by again 
receiving a letter from you, for I had been disappointed at 
not seeing you at the Edinburgh meeting, where your name 
not only occurred in print, but some were ready to declare 
they had seen you in town. Sedgwick, in one of the ani- 
mated discussions in the geological section, happened 
incidentally to come upon you, and in his rapid extemporising 
way said, ' Dr. F., a tough antagonist to deal with, and with 
whom I never yet had to do in this, or other matters of con- 
troversy, without getting the worst of it ; ' or some words to 
that effect. I thint we were upon the fish scales in Old Eed. 
There was something droll as well as candid in what feU 
from him, which made us all laugh at the time, and yet, 
when I wanted afterwards to recall it, I could neither get 
from Buckland nor anyone else the precise point or expressions. 


There was so much done in debate, that one may be excused 
for being a bad reporter. The sections answered well. The 
evenings badly — too much display to suit with my notions of 
what philosophers should do. The platform always reminded 
me of the hustings, on which a set of political speakers were 
holding forth to ladies and gentlemen, and this I think was 
a pretty general feeling. I am using my wife's hand in 
penning this part of my epistle, for my eyes, which, you re- 
member, were never of the strongest, although now behaving 
better than formerly, have been rather fatigued this week, 
by having candles in the daytime during the fog, and I have 
to read as Secretary at the G. S. to-night, Hamilton having 
gone to canvass the Tory voters of the borough of Newport. 
As you said nothing in your letter of Mrs. Fleming, I must 
beg you to write soon again, and give me some domestic 
news. We are quite well, and thinking of going to Paris 
and Switzerland next year. I am writing an elementary 
book on Geology, and wish I may disappoint my friends, who 
all agree that I shall make it too deep. It is to be the size 
of one of my four volumes of the third edition. I have been 
reading Dr. Boase's work on Primary Geology, an attack 
upon the Plutonic theory by one who was never out of Corn- 
wall, and who seems to make light of all but Cornish ob- 
servers. It is good, however, to read what an antagonist has 
to say, who has worked hard at Cornish granitic and 
mineral veins. You should read it when you have time to 
take in hand the granite veins near Aberdeen, which Dr. 
Knight took me to see. Pray make drawings of them when 
you can, and anything which makes for or against my 
hypogene and metamorphic views, or heresies, as I suppose 
Boase would have it. I also wish you much to send a paper 
to be read at the G. S. here, on the great Flish dike. I never 
saw a more splendid case of the passage from the granitiform 
to the trappean mixtures. Don't ask me to define what I 
mean by these terms. De la Beche's last book, called ' Theo- 
retical Researches in Geologj',' is by far the best thiag he 
has written, biit in his statement of the question as to the 
origin of the crystalline or primary schists, he suppresses or 
blinks the numerous facts of altered fossiliferous strata in a 
sub-crystalline, or, as Werner would call it, transition state. 

446 S/R CHARLES LYELL. chap. xix. 

The key to their origin ought, I think, to be sought in such 
passages. I mean to go to Glaris this year, the slate of 
which, looking like primary roofing slate, contains, according 
to Agassiz, chalk fish. It has been said sneeringly that 
fossils may prove that black is white, and white black, but I 
have no objection to these black slates having once been 
mud of the chalk epoch. Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise 
is only promised to us at Easter. We are curious to know 
what he w